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Left Off The Dial: Norway will become the first country in the world to shut down its FM radio


Three years from now, there will be no FM radio in Norway.

The Scandinavian country of five million people announced last week it will shut down its FM radio network in favor of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) as its national standard. The phase out will start January 11, 2017, and be completed by the end of the year. As the Verge reports, Norway will be the first country to take such actions, and other countries in Europe and southeast Asia are mulling similar measures.

The move will save Norway $25 million, CNN says. Currently, Norway’s FM network only features five stations, but there are already four times that number online.


Here’s more from the Verge:

A statement released this week by the Ministry of Culture confirms a switch-off date that was proposed by the Norwegian government back in 2011. The government has concluded that the country is capable of meeting all the requirements necessary for a smooth transition to digital.

“Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio-content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality,” Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey said in a statement. “Digitization will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition and offer new opportunities for innovation and development.”


DAB currently offers 22 national channels as opposed to FM’s five, and has the capacity to host almost 20 more. The cost of transmitting radio channels through FM is also eight times higher than the cost of DAB transmission, the ministry reports.

While online radio is prevalent in Norway, Gizmodo reports that “over 90% of Americans still listen to AM/FM radio at least weekly,” though “more people are choosing to forgo analog radio for Internet-only services each year. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before many countries follow Norway’s example…”

VanyaRadio, Vanyaland’s commercial-free streaming online alt-rock radio station, launched in February of last year.