Norway becomes first country to turn off FM radio

Stockholm  –   Norway on Wednesday began turning off analogue FM radio, making it the first country in the world to fully transition to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).

Thor Eriksen, NRK Broadcasting Chief, in Stockholm, said it was an historic moment, at 11.11 a.m. (1011 GMT), when the analogue FM broadcasting system in the northern county of Nordland was shut down and other commercial broadcasters switched over to the DAB standard.

“Norway was the first country in the world to make such a transition on a nationwide basis,’’ he said.

He said that the move would ultimately see both state and commercial broadcasters leave FM radio for DAB.

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Eriksen noted that DAB was said to be more robust and use less power to operate, while offering more channels and better audio quality than Norway’s ageing FM broadcast equipment.

“Norway’s topography with many small communities spread across mountains and valleys, difficult to reach with FM radio, has also been cited for the switch,’’ he said.

Eriksen observed that “for the first time everyone in Norway will have an equal offering from NRK, regardless if they live in the capital Oslo or the municipality of Rost that is part of the Lofoten archipelago off northern Norway.’’

“Listeners will need a DAB radio set, Smartphone or computer to listen to DAB broadcasts, and many motorists will need to convert their car radios.

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The parliament approved the transition in 2011.

The government said the transition was to be completed by Dec. 13, 2016 in the country of about 4.2 million.

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