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Norway’s FM Switch Off Is Important Topic at RadioDays

The lessons learned during the shutdown have become a roadmap for other countries considering switching to digital

VIENNA — By the end of 2017, Norway had shut down all of its national network FMs. The lessons learned during and after the shutdown have become a roadmap for other countries considering a digital radio switchover, and were discussed in a special focus workshop at RadioDays, now going on in Vienna, according to

Norway’s radio DAB protagonists (the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, Bauer Media, and P4) used social media to allow the listeners their say on what they really wanted from their radio stations, according to the team presenting the Digital Radio workshop. Chat websites, DAB help teams and the DAB industry rallied to try and discover what it was they needed achieve with a new digital medium, based on listener feedback during the planning phase.

“Careful planning and teamwork were essential for its success. After much consultation, the listeners were offered more choices than previously,” explained the presenters, quoted in the same article. “The transition allowed for better sound quality, more channels and functions at an eighth of the cost of FM radio… but the difficult task of changing the mindset of loyal listeners was slow and cumbersome.”

DAB has given many new choices to those seeking out new music. Listeners now have more choices than ever: Bauer Media has 25 new stations on air, as one example.

Unfortunately, not everyone is convinced of the success of digital radio in Norway. While the presenters at the Special Focus Workshop remain upbeat about the success so far, they also discussed some things that did not go as well as expected, and “there was a voice of dissent targeting the conference through social media,” according to the article. 

“Even as the workshop presenters were speaking, switch-off skeptics were tweeting at the conference hashtag #RDE18 with messages such as “DAB Radio in Norway Close to the Abyss. FM Still On. Lobbyists spreading a false picture of the digital OTA transition.”