Times are changing in how we get our news, information and entertainment and radio is not exempt from those changes!


In a somewhat unpopular move, Norway is set to become the first nation to start switching off its FM (frequency modulation) radio network and instead embrace digital technology.  The changes are set to start up next week and other countries are taking note of the results.

Those against the move think it is a rushed decision, especially since so many cars (about 2 million) in Norway have no way to receive digital audio broadcasting (DAB).  Cars are considered the biggest challenge in the switch and a good digital adapter for an FM car radio is said to cost 1,500 Norwegian crowns or ($235 Cdn).

How does the public feel in Norway? In an opinion poll it showed sixty-six per cent of Norwegians opposed switching off FM, with just 17 per cent in favour and the rest undecided.  Regardless of the unpopular move, parliament gave the final go-ahead last month, swayed by the fact that digital networks can carry more radio channels. (For the same cost, digital radio in Norway allows eight times more radio stations than FM.)

Switzerland plans a similar shift from 2020, and the U.K. and Denmark are also considering a switch. A smooth transition to DAB, which is already beamed across Norway, could encourage these countries to move ahead as well.

The shutdown of the FM network, introduced in the 1950s, will begin in the northern city of Bodo on Jan. 11.

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