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Digital killed the radio star: Norway names FM switchoff date

Analogue's reign dear, digital fjorges ahead

Norway is claiming a world first: having successfully implemented digital radio, the country has announced the dates for a progressive FM radio shutdown.

The end will come during 2017, says the country's Ministry of Culture, which has announced that the conditions it set down in 2011 have been met.

Instead of the five national FM stations that operate in Norway, there are now 22 digital radio stations in the country, with capacity for another 20.

The ministry also reckons there's a big saving available for broadcasters. At the moment, major broadcasters like P4, Radio Norge and NRK are running parallel distribution, the ministry says, and FM transmissions are around eight times more expensive than on the digital spectrum.

That saving will amount to NOK 200 million – around US$25.5 million – which the ministry hopes will go back into content production instead.

There will also be benefits for the country's emergency services, since emergency announcements can be simultaneously broadcast on all digital channels.

The first FM switch-off, due in January 2017, will be in the Nordland county, and will end with the Troms and Finnmark counties in December 2017. ®


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