Norway goes Digital, eliminates FM radio

Rob Landry
Thu Jan 12 11:07:11 EST 2017

On Thu, 12 Jan 2017, Michael Wilkins wrote:

> I was somewhat surprised to see no mention of this, on the first day of 
> implementation; perhaps because it's been in the works for several years 
> now. However, I did load a (rather light) interview that Marco Werman 
> (PRI's The World) did with Ole Torvmark, the CEO of Digitalradio Norway.

That's a country with a very high penetration of DAB+ radios. DAB+ is a 
modulation scheme that combines several program streams -- up to 30, IIRC 
-- onto one broadcast on a single RF channel. It's excellent for countries 
that have national radio networks where one can feed multiple sites on the 
same channel and have seamless coverage.

DAB+ wouldn't do as well in the United States, where national networks are 
the exception rather than the rule, which is thousands of privately owned 
local stations that compete one with another. The digital broadcast 
standard here is "HD Radio", which has far lower penetration and isn't 
popular with listeners. "HD Radio" also uses the same spectrum as AM and 
FM, so there's no spectrum to be freed by shutting down the analog modes.

Listeners in this country aren't buying "HD Radio" receivers. Shutting 
down AM and FM would leave the U.S. with no broadcast radio at all 
(Internet streaming is not a workable substitute).


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