Norway officially scraps FM radio in favor of digital broadcasting

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Dec. 15, 2017 at 12:31 PM
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Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Norway became the first country to end FM radio service this week.

The last FM transmitters of government radio services, in Troms and Finnmark in the country's most remote northern areas, shut down on Thursday. The nationwide change to DAB, or digital audio broadcasting, took nearly one year.

Proponents say the change to the digital format will offer clearer radio signals, more choice of radio stations and access to faraway broadcasts. Those who object note that older cars in Norway do not have the new technology. A survey indicated that NRK, the national broadcaster, lost one-fifth of its audience after the switch began in January, Euronews.com reported on Friday. Those lost listeners are primarily older people lacking the new technology, it added.

Some radio stations in Norway are maintaining an FM presence in protest of the government conversion.

With Norway's mountainous regions, FM radio has always had spotty reception in the country, facilitating the interest in the digital technology.

Other countries may eventually utilize the new broadcasting method, but Owen Watters, CEO of Roberts Radio, inventor of the portable DAB player, told the Independent he thinks the change will be slow. Watters said many countries, including Britain, do not yet offer a signal that can cover its entire territory.

Norwegian officials announced the move in 2015.

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