LOS ANGELES — I’m an advocate of digital radio here in the U.S., and in this newsletter we’re keeping you up-to-date on the progress of digital radio in other countries as well.
Still, when listeners have so many other ways to get programming, one would have to wonder if just shutting off FM (as they are now doing in Norway) and compelling listeners to learn how to find you on the (relatively) new medium is such a good idea.
Are we really giving them enough reasons to do that?
Our Norwegian correspondent Eivind Engberg passed an article along that made me a bit uneasy about the future of radio in general:
“Only half of us hear NRK (Norway’s public radio) after the transition to dab, according to a reader survey Bladet Vesterålen made online,” as reported online in blv.no. Presumably this survey was done just with listeners in Nordland county, where the first FM shutdowns occurred on Jan. 11. “Old radios cannot receive NRK anymore, but only half of us care about it.” (Emphasis mine.)
“... 1,000 responses from readers, 21% are reporting that they can receive NRK, one week after NRK went off the air on FM.
“8% answered that they already were not listening to the radio, while 46 percent of those who responded dropped NRK.” (Again the italics are mine.)
It’s my hope that as time goes on and listeners start to miss NRK they’ll come around and accept that DAB is the only radio option. Obviously, streaming media is another good way to reach listeners.
For dyed-in-the-wool FM holdouts in Norway, there are still quite a few options for FM radio. About 60% of the country is covered by FM stations coming in from Sweden, plus there are still 199 local FMs transmitting across the country, with licenses that allow them to do so till 2022. If you want to see the entire list, simply look here, and scroll-down the article.