Discover Digital Radio

Norway's plans to transition to an exclusively digital national broadcasting standard

Helen Henry, 23rd April 2015
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Late last week, the Norwegian Government announced that it has set a date for the switch-off of Norway’s FM radio stations - January 2017.

"Radio digitisation will open the door to a far greater range of radio channels, benefiting listeners across the country. Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality. Digitisation will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition and offer new opportunities for innovation and development,” says Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey.

You can read the full press release here.

The CBAA's Chief Executive Officer Jon Bisset provided the following statement on this news:

The Norwegian Government decision to switch off FM in favour of DAB+ in 2017 is a strong and positive statement about the digitisation of radio broadcasting.

It is welcomed by the broadcasters there. It will save them continued costs for operating analog services.  It will prompt receiver development in cars. It will provide improved free-to-air services for people in Norway, and many new services.  It is future facing.

The switch off is part of a resurgent mood to embrace DAB+ right across Europe, and in other parts of the world.

Australia led the way by introducing DAB+, with its late generation high quality audio coding.  Digital radio is increasingly integrated with online to provide a hybrid and multi-platform radio experience. The key is that services must be available on a free-to-air basis.

The community sector is a critical component of media diversity in Australia and, thanks to legislation, funding and cross-party political support, it has 37 services on-air in digital. A great achievement.

While analog switch off is a way off in Australia - the take up of digital radio is very strong. Community sector research shows that, where digital radio is available, it accounts for 19% of all radio listening. The broader radio industry is averaging 21%. These are impressive figures given digital radio has only been on air for five years and with coverage only in metropolitan areas.

Now, the CBAA, along with other radio sectors, is keen to see digital radio extend beyond the metropolitan areas, to regional areas.

The community, commercial and national broadcasters all see a strong future for radio as a free-to-air broadcast medium.

The Government here is expected to announce an industry committee, with key involvement of the community, commercial and national broadcasters to plan the next stage roll-out of digital radio.

This statement was shared by The Music Network and TheMusic.com.au.

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