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Not so fast on FM switch-off: DAB not so hot say small broadcasters

This Norwegian blue isn't dead yet

By Richard Chirgwin, 27 Apr 2015

Norway's plan to ditch FM radio broadcasting has come under fire from that country's smaller broadcasters.

The Register reported last week that with digital reaching its audience targets, the government set a 2017 date for the death of analogue FM radio in that country - freeing up spectrum for "digital dividend"-style applications

However, the Norwegian Local Radio Association disputes the communications ministry's figure, pointing instead to Norwegian Government Statistical Bureau data that “listening to DAB radio is presently limited to 19% on a daily basis.”

In an e-mail sent to Vulture South, the association says the Minister of Culture's announcement swept up DVB-T and Internet radio to claim that “digital listening” had hit the 50 per cent target that triggers an FM switch-off.

The association also notes that an all-DAB nation would provide a lot less service to motoring tourists without digital radios in their cars. “This proposed change means that most visitors will not be able to listen to national channels or public radio for emergency alerts, traffic or other important information”, the group said in a media release e-mailed to El Reg.

It claims that a focus on large broadcasters would leave FM investments by community radio stranded.

The local broadcasters are backed by the Progress Party, a partner in the coalition government in Norway, and the Greens.

The organisation's release notes that 200 stations outside the four largest cities – both commercial and community – will still be able to broadcast on FM, and also notes that its unlikely that DAB will be implemented on mobile phones (which usually have an FM receiver). ®

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