Technology

FM radio switch-off looms in Norway

cat listening to old fashioned radio Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The success of FM switch-off in Norway will have an impact on the radio industry around the world, experts say

Norway is to become the first country in the world to switch off its FM radio signal in 2017.

The government has announced there are currently 22 national digital radio stations broadcasting and there is space on the digital platform for a further 20.

However, there are only five national outlets broadcasting on FM, it added.

NRK, Norway's public service broadcaster, will switch off its FM service before the commercial sector.

UK analyst James Cridland told the BBC it will be a "nervous time" for the global radio industry when the first FM transmitter is switched off in Norway on January 11 2017.

"I hope Norwegians have done enough to retain radio's audience and make sure that those that haven't made the switch will make that switch," he said.

"I think while with television it is important for you to go out and buy a new set, radio listeners may think they'll just play their CD collection or listen to Spotify instead.

"If it obliterates the radio audience it may mean we are even less keen to turn off FM and AM in the UK [and other countries]."

Cost savings

The Norwegian Ministry of Culture estimates that digitising national radio output will result in savings of 200 million Norwegian Krone (£17m, $25m) a year.

"The cost of transmitting national radio channels through the FM network is eight times higher than with the DAB network," it said in a statement.

This is partly because DAB transmitters are more power efficient.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Sweden, national auditor Margareta Aberg has advised the Swedish Ministry of Culture to retain the FM network, reports the website Digital Radio Insider.

The government is expected to make its decision soon.

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