Norway goes Digital, eliminates FM radio

Chris Hansen
Thu Jan 12 05:17:06 EST 2017

On 12/01/2017 01:45, 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.
> What is the future of FM here in the states? Same road as OTA television? What would the timeline be?

Here in the UK the government is waiting for 50%+1 of households having
access to DAB receivers before planning the elimination of FM
transmissions. The head of the digital broadcasting organisation thinks
that this threshold will be achieved this year.

There are several hitches in this. The provision of DAB transmitters is
spotty in parts of the UK and thus FM (and AM and LW) broadcasting is
vital to reach those areas. And the DAB service often cuts out for a
short time, leaving people to turn to computer, satellite, or FM
reception to continue to listen to broadcasts. This is much complained
about, but the industry just shrugs its collective shoulders and in
effect tells us to just live with it.

Audiophiles also complain that the audio quality of DAB broadcasting is
not up to the standard of FM broadcasting. As there are fewer and fewer
audiophiles around, this objection doesn't cut much mustard.

The US needs to try to avoid some of these pitfalls if it wants to clear
the FM bands. Transmitters must be robust and dropout-free, as much as
possible. The technology must be as up-to-date as possible, foreseeing
and capable of future enhancement--the UK's DAB system is not, and the
German DAB+ system, thought to be superior, won't be introduced here.
And 100% of the country must be able to receive DAB transmissions before
FM is silenced.

Cheers from London's Massachusetts-born expat

Chris Hansen

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