The radio world is watching Norway | radioinfo

The radio world is watching Norway

Saturday 11 March, 2017
Photo credit: Nadzim Zainal
The radio world has been watching Norway to see if its bold experiment to switch off Analog FM radio and replace it with DAB+ digital radio will be successful.

So far so good, according to Jørn Jensen (pictured) from Norway's national broadcaster NRK.

Jensen was in Malaysia this week at the DBS2017 Digital Broadcasting Symposium, just weeks after the first FM transmitters in Norway were switched off.

The country plans a phased switch off of FM (there are no AM stations on air in Norway) throughout this year, with small regional areas switched off first and the major cities turned off by December.

"They thought we were mad, but we are proving them wrong," Jensen told conference delegates.

The first region switched off went without a hitch, according to Jensen, due to significant promotion of the switch off, personal visits from radio staff to help people understand how their digital radios worked, and long term planning in the lead up to FM switch off and DAB+ switch on.

"From 1995 we built out coverage, then [manufacturers] made the receivers and they were all in the shops, then the plan for switch off began growing slowly."

Enticing people to buy digital radios was a key to the long term planning, and Jensen explained that this was done by introducing new channels that targeted specific segments of the community. Older listeners, younger listeners and jazz music lovers were three audience segments who got new channels thanks to digital, and they quickly embraced their specialist new channels according to Jensen. Norway's radio spectrum was full, so there was no opportunity to introduce any new channels on the analog spectrum, one of the prime reasons for moving to digital.

"We wanted to future proof our radio industry," he said.

Once all analog services are switched off there will be significant operating expenditure savings for all the country's radio companies as transmission power costs plummet.

In a conference session at DBS2017, Jensen outlines the steps in the digital radio switch over and, below, he talks about the oldies radio channel that has been the driving force in convincing older audiences to switch to digital radio.

But not everyone is as positive as Jensen... see the reader comments at the bottom of this report.

 

 

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In Nordland county, were the first shut off has happened, these are the statistics, with current figures shown first and previous figures (before switch off) shown in brackets:
 
·       Number of DAB radios total:  224,000  (previously 165,000)
·       Number of DAB in car:  53.000  (previously 39.000)
·       Total radio listening:  64% (previously 74%)
·       Reach of total radio listening, DAB:  81% (previously 57%)
·       Reach of total radio listening, Internet Radio:  28% (previously 28%)
·       Reach of total radio listening digital television:  22% (previously 20%)
·       Reach of total radio listening, accumulated digital:  86% (previously 75%)
·       Reach of total radio listening, only via FM:  14% (previously 25%) *


 * Listeners who either listen to local radio or receiving nationwide FM signals from neighbour regions.

 

 

 

 

Location: 
Norway
NO
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12 Comments

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Tipo832
12 March 2017 - 7:25pm
I beg your pardon?! There is no success.
The people in the first district where FM was switched off, Nordland, are furious.
The local newspaper are collecting feedback on coverage. You can see the article here: https://www.an.no/fortell-om-dab-dekningen-over-3000-har-allerede-bidratt/s/5-4-456923 and the map of coverage is quite revealing! Very poor.
The resitance against DAB+ and indeed turning off FM is growing every day. Groups on Facebook are gathering thousands opposed to the switch. Other national broadcasters are reporting secondary cost of 23 billion NOK to complete the transition to DAB+ (this is of course covered by the listener).
Meanwhile NRK needs to report a success as they have spent 5 billion of the publics license money on this unwanted project. The mobile phone networks are offering free data packages for radio streaming as demand for radio streaming is growing.
DAB+ is unwanted, reception is poor and sound quality is atrocious. For my own part my listening pattern has changed. I listen to radio but instead of the Norwegian channels I have discovered the world; listening til radio from Spain, Germany, USA, UK, Sweden and Denmark. Others may follow suit and again Facebook groups are giving advice on best apps for radio streaming, good stations and so forth.
There are also calls for investigation into possible corruption as the radio stations pushing the transition to DAB+ have been giving away radio sets for free to the listeners, but the radio sets are supposedly sourced from one supplier with obvious economic interests in the transition.
So, many of my fellow Norwegian and myself do not believe Jørn Jensen. We do not want DAB+ and we don't want to lose FM! :-(
publicservicesweden
12 March 2017 - 11:25pm
This is a very onesided DAB lobby view, rather "alternative facts" from Norway.
There is a lot of spectra for broadcasting in the FM band in the Nordic countries, so the FM band is not "full" in Norway.
After Sweden rejected DAB 2015 the FM band is now expanding for commercial radio: http://digitalradioinsider.blogspot.se/2017/03/80-new-fm-frequencies-for-commercial.html
Radionette
13 March 2017 - 3:55am
This i bullshit
IT has been Huge problems lots of pepole have lost there radio signal, the coverage is terrible.
85% of norwegian prefer FM radio
It s a complete scandal .
If you think this is a success you have you're paycheck Signed by digital radio norway
Dmnord
13 March 2017 - 5:58am
Shutting down FM in Norway is a huge mistake.people over all of Norway are very dissattisfied with the this and Jørn Jensen is not a source to believe in. The national broadcast company NRK is struggeling with a great number of radiolistners leaving them and listening to localradio instad. NRK is with it's Facebook radio.no page also cencoring people who have another opinion than themselves. DAB is a great failare in Norway.
Radionette
13 March 2017 - 6:52am
https://www.thelocal.no/20170119/just-days-after-switch-from-fm-norways-dab-system-goes-down
JameMark
13 March 2017 - 9:29am
Without a hitch!? Are you KIDDING ME!?
Go read facebook groups about this. It's not working well alt all.
The hitches are som many they cannot count them!
The cost is 30 billions Norwegian Crowns, ant the change has made The NRK-national stations has gone down 6 % in listening in only two months.
NRK has made the DAB-thing king of fake news, and throws away their credibility on fronting this out dated system.
RadioRadio
13 March 2017 - 7:32pm
It's worth mentioning that the negative comments here are a result of an organized attack by a DAB "hate group". The group is called "Nei til tvangsinnføring av DAB radio i Norge" and it has a couple of thousand members on Facebook.
There has of course been some controversy in general regarding the transition to DAB, but this is very exeggarated by a small group of unhappy people. Most DAB-stories in Norwegian media about this topic is polluted with organised campaigns by this and similiar groups.
Nordland was the first region where national radio on FM was switched off. Radio listening in that region has gone down 10 % from 74 to 64. This is almost as expected and something most people in the industry consider a temporary dip.
Radionette
13 March 2017 - 8:48pm
there have been several polls in norway asking the pepole. they all show the same 8 out of 10 are against the FM shut down. that makes it a bit more then a couple of thousend pepole who are against this. the correct number is about 3,5million or 3/4 of the population in norway.
Tipo832
14 March 2017 - 9:31pm
I see that "RadioRadio" claims that this is an organized attack by a DAB "hate group". Hm. We still have freedom of speech in Norway. I am not organized in any way. I just happen to think that DAB+ is bad for radio. Yesterday the Norwegian truck drivers association published their report based on their members experience after turning of FM in Nordland county:
75,4% experiences poorer DAB-coverage than FM.
68,3% is of the opionion that the poor DAB-coverage is a security risk.
Respondents list more than 60 areas of no DAB-coverage.
As per default the "love group" for DAB+ claims user error as most probable cause. Norway is an early adapter of technology. More than 75% of the population between 9-79 years use digtial media on a daily basis (PC, pad, phone). Source: Nordicom.
We have digital television. My children are doing and delivering their home work on an iPad. Why are we suddenly technologically illiterate? Could it be that DAB+ is not all that it is cranked up to be? It is actually very poor.
I live in the central part of Norway close to the capital Oslo, and just driving around the parking lot the signal drops out 3-4 times. But of course, I'm the idiot. But I can still listen to the radio on my cell phone with no loss of coverage, without having to dismantle my car for new equipment, without any cablas (bluetooth anyone?) and it also has GPS and email. So why do I need DAB+? They say it's for more radio. I would venture that 90% of the new channels are nothing but play lists on loop. And let's face it, most listeners are better themselves at compiling their personal favorites in a play list on Spotify o iTunes. So I still listen to radio, but my listening to digital radio should not be mistakenly used as support for DAB+!
publicservicesweden
15 March 2017 - 3:44am
"RadioRadio" is not presenting a true picture of what's happening in Norway. There is no organized "hate group" rather thousands of angry citizens coming together spontanously on Facebook. Buy the way there are also five other groups besides the one mentioned. A lot of the people in these groups are not against DAB per se, they are against the unique political decision to force the Norwegians from FM and into DAB - and also to pay for most of it - i.e. buying new DAB receivers. It has not been the democratic process which you should expect in a democracy.

Speaking of "a small group of angry people" I like to remind you that behind the DAB lobby in Norway is a "small group of happy people" privately making a fortune selling DAB receivers on an artifical market created by the not so well-informed politicians. The happy people just love the WorldDAB lobby organization and don't appreciate neighbouring Sweden spoiling the party by rejecting DAB and retaining FM.
publicservicesweden
15 March 2017 - 4:13am
Jørn Jensen working at the NRK should know. Norway has AM radio (medium and long wave) up in the North: Ingøy on 153 kHz and Svalbard on 1485 kHz. DAB has a very limited maritime reach. The fishing fleet could listen to FM before, now it is only AM left for them.
torenfje
19 March 2017 - 9:54pm
I live in Norway. I usually listen to radio in the car, at home I use spotify. We have annok radio connection ariund in the country despite all the mountains and valleys (and 100'eds of tunnels). Changing to DAB means changing all the radios around us, like in the alarm clocks, the surround reciver and the car stereo.
The reasons for switching fro fm to DAB are two.
1) There is not enough space on the fm band to fit all the channels.
If you use 100kHz intervals (instead of the troublesome 50kHz) you will have 200 channels on the fm band. We have about 10-12 channels here, and in the biggest city I guess they have 30, so there is still space for another 170 channels without changing to DAB.
2) The DAB signals are "much better ", there will be no interruptions in tunnels and valleys.
Bullshit, the signal is clearly more troublesome, and doesn't work as well in tunnels. This is changing because the fm antennas distributed around in the country is being shut down, and new DAB antennas are being installed.
Basically, we are being forced to change all our equipment, based on lies, and I still haven't figured out who benefit on this and why the politicians want this.
We have done shit like this before, when other countries installed broadband internet we installed ISDN, a technology already abandoned by other countries. Now we will probably have DAB for 5-10 years before we realize it was a dead end.
Some people here don't care, some are angry about it and I actually met one guy who thought lots of channels was nice (but on fm we could send 200 channels if we wanted).
More than 50% don't want this junk (less than 50% want it or don't know).
I hope other countries learn from our mistake!
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