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Which Country Will Abandon FM Next?

Now that Norway has started its transition from FM to DAB, it seems fair to ask what country might be next in line to make the change

Now that Norway has started its transition from FM to DAB, it seems fair to ask what country might be next in line to make the change. �

Just last month reported that starting Jan. 31, Italy�s RAS (Radiotelevisione special agency) has expanded the reception of DAB + programs in South Tyrol with the commissioning of the stations in San Vigilio, Casies, Corvara in Passiria, Schlinig, Anterselva, the valley of Braies and Maso Corto…� �Furthermore: ��…at the end of 2017 RAS will start [to turn] off the first small FM systems � therefore, in the purchase of a new radio device, the user is asked to choose a digital radio. The same applies to the purchase of a new car, which should be equipped with DAB + system.��Read more about it here.

Digital radio has also �made great strides in Switzerland. It�s expected that in 2020 the gradual replacement of FM with DAB + will begin across Switzerland, according to (You can read more about it here.) As of last August, 53% of all radio listening in Switzerland is digital, taking listening numbers ahead of analog for the first time. �At work and at home, listeners now clearly favor digital radio ahead of FM,� according to Switzerland�s MCDT. �

The UK is a likely candidate for the next major player to make the switch to DAB from analog FM. According to the UK�s Ofcom, �The government stated that it would consider a decision on whether to set a date for digital radio switchover when the following criteria were met:

  • when 50% of all radio listening is via digital platforms; and
  • when national DAB1 coverage is comparable to FM, and local DAB reaches 90%of�the population and all major roads. �

Ofcom also reported:�

  • Digital radio accounted for 45.5% of total listening hours in Q3 2016. This is a year-on-year increase of 3.6 percentage points in digital radio�s share of total listening hours.
  • Digital share of listening exceeded 50% in six local areas. Sussex had the highest share of radio listening via a digital platform, at 53.4%, followed by Berkshire and north Hampshire (53.2%), Swindon and west Wiltshire (51.4%), London (51.3%), Gloucestershire (50.2%) and Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire (50.1%).
  • DAB is the most popular platform for digital listening. In Q3 2016 it accounted for 70.3% of digital listening, while 11.9% was through a television and 17.8% was via the internet.�

So while the numbers aren�t quite there yet, digital radio continues to grow in the UK, and this could very well be the year that the government makes clear their plans for the switchover. �