According to a recent report from Reuters, Norway is going to be the first country in the world to turn off FM radio. Norway has been using FM radio broadcasting for more than 60 years, but by the end of the year all FM broadcasts in Norway will have ended. FM will be replaced by Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) transmissions.
A majority of Norwegians are not pleased with the switch despite DAB transmissions offering better sound quality. An opinion poll done by the daily newspaper Dagbladet, showed that 66 percent of respondents were against the shift from FM to DAB, while only 17 percent supported it. Those who favor the move say it “provides more channels on a given bandwidth, and in general, has better reception.”
In 2011 Norway’s parliament decided that in a country with 5 million people, having both an FM radio network and a DAB network was too exorbitant. Norway’s government estimated that the cost of FM was eight times higher than digital radio, and the savings could be used to improve radio content. Digital Radio Norway claims that “7.9 million radio sets will be affected by the crossover, and that only 20 percent of private cars have DAB radio systems.” According to Reuters, converting an FM car radio to a DAB system may cost Norwegians 1,5000 crowns ($174.70).
FM radio broadcasting has been used since it was invented in the United States in 1933, but does this move to DAB transmission by Norway signal the beginning of the end of FM radio? How long before other countries following its example? Radio has always been one of the best ways to reach a desired audience, so it will be intriguing to see how it progresses with technology.