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Norway Completes Transition to Digital Audio Broadcasting


Norway has completed a nearly year-long transition to digital radio, becoming the first country in the world to shut down national broadcasts of its analog FM radio network and move to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB). The three state-run outlets — NRK P1-P3 — and commercial stations P4 and Radio Norge have ceased broadcasting in FM and transmit DAB instead.

The switch has not been popular with everyone, with complaints involving technical issues and lack of DAB coverage in Norway. In addition, radio users have complained about the need to buy new receivers or digital adapters. Also, fewer than one-half of Norway’s motorists have DAB capability in their vehicles.

Proponents contend the transition not only will offer better sound quality and more channels but save money.

Radio listening in the Scandinavian country has dropped by 10% over the past year, and public broadcaster NRK has lost 21% of its audience, according to media reports.

The switchover to DAB+ involves only national radio channels; most local stations still broadcast in analog FM. Other countries in Europe are poised to follow Norway’s lead. Finland launched digital broadcasting in 1998 but shut it down 7 years later.