From FM to digital radio

The switchover started in the county of Nordland in January and was completed on December 13 when the broadcasters switched off their FM broadcasts in the counties of Troms and Finnmark.

The FM-switch-off was completed according to the Regional Plan. The brochure and regional switch-off plan can also be downloaded in column to the right (computer) or beneath (mobile/tablet).

 The swich-off plan

The coverage for DAB+ in Norway is 99,7 percent of the population for the NRK's radio services and 92,8 percent for commercial national services (e.g. P4 and Radio Norge). Click here to read more about how coverage is measured.



Digital radio listening

Radio listeners have access to digital radio via several platforms, such as DAB+, internet, mobile telephones/apps and TV.

If you have an FM radio in your car and drive on Norwegian roads, you will only have access to local radio stations in areas with local FM broadcasts. An FM radio cannot receive DAB/DAB+ signals.

To be able to listen to the full DAB service in Norway, the car must be equipped with a DAB+ radio or an adapter (with DAB antenna).
There are different DAB+ solutions on the market, varying from simple plug-in adapters to fully built-in solutions. A key factor to good reception is an antenna of good quality and proper installation. 



In 2007, the Norwegian Parliament decided that radio in Norway were to be digitized. The conditions for FM switch-off for national radio stations was set in the 2011 White Paper, Report to the Storting No. 8 (2010-2011).
The following three conditions are absolute and had to be fulfilled regardless of when the switch-off were to take place:

  • Digital coverage for the NRK's radio services must correspond to that of NRK P1 on FM.
  • The multiplex that carries commercial national services (Riksblokka) must cover at least 90 per cent of the population.
  • The digital radio offer must represent added value to the listeners.

The above three conditions, as well as the two following conditions, had to be fulfilled by 1 January 2015 for the switch-off to take place in 2017:

  • Affordable and technically satisfactory solutions for in-car radio reception must be available.
  • At least 50 per cent of daily radio listeners must employ digital platforms, exclusively or in combination with FM radio.

In 2015 the Government decided that the conditions set in the White Paper were fulfilled and the switch-off date was set to 2017.

A key point in the digitization of radio has been that the process should be industry driven. This includes the choice of broadcast technology. The role of the authorities in the migration process has been merely of a facilitative nature. The main tasks of the Norwegian Media Authority (NMA) has been to:

  • Issue necessary licenses.
  • Provide the Ministry of Culture with annual reports regarding the fulfilment of the switch-off conditions.
  • Survey on the digital radio listening and knowledge of the digitization process in cooperation with the broadcasters.
  • Manage an information campaign directed at the general public.

The major broadcasters in Norway have been responsible for developing the national DAB networks. The broadcasters have chosen to use DAB technology (Eureka 147) to replace the current FM technology.

This standard comprises DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting), DAB+ and DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting). In Norway, most radio channels in the DAB networks will be transmitted using DAB+.

You can read more in the summary of Report No. 8 (2010 - 2011) to the Storting Norwegian proposal on the digitization of radio (pdf)



New Listening figures for local radio shows increase

Listening figures presented this week by the Norwegian Media Authority shows that the listener growth local radio has experienced after the digital switchover continues. Furthermore, in counties who had an early switch-off date, there is an increase in radio listeners.

Local radio has a listener growth in most counties in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018. The growth is strongest in the counties of Troms and Finnmark, where daily listeners on local radio has increased from 7.4 percent to 11.7 percent last quarter. In these counties the radio switchover was completed in December 2017. Daily listeners on local radio at a national level is 14.3 percent.

– The increase in listeners shows that local radio is an important contributor to media diversity, says Mari Velsand, Director General at the Norwegian Media Authority.

Largest growth in total radio listeners in the South and the West

In the western and southern counties, and in the counties that completed the radio switchover in the first half of 2017, there is a listener growth for both local radio and national radio in Q1 2018. The largest growth is in the western and southern counties, where daily listeners has increased from 55.5 per cent to 60.5 per cent last quarter.

Despite some decline – radio listening is stabilizing

In the areas that completed the radio switchover in Q4 2017, there is a decrease in the overall radio listeners, despite the fact that listeners to local radio is increasing. The decline is largest in the counties of Troms and Finnmark, where daily listeners has decreased from 67.4 per cent to 58.5 per cent since Q4 2017. In central eastern Norway, which also includes the capital of Oslo, daily listeners decreases from 58.0 per cent to 55.6 per cent in Q1 2018.

The Norwegian Media Authority has expected that radio listening will stabilize in 2018. National-level measurements in March showed a stable development with marginal growth on a national basis.

– The decline in the total radio listening that we saw right after the radio switchover is about to level out, as was expected. It may seem that radio listeners are now coming back in the counties that completed the radio switchover first, says Velsand.
The listening figures that the Norwegian Media Authority presents is based on data from Kantar Media.

Main findings:

  • Daily listeners on local radio at a national level is 14.3 per cent
  • Local radio experiences growth in listeners in most counties. The largest growth is in the counties of Troms and Finnmark by 4.3 percentage points
  • There is an overall listener increase in the counties that completed the radio switchover in early 2017, but an overall listener decline in the counties that performed the radio shift in the fourth quarter
  • Total daily radio listeners at a national level, including both national and local radio, is 59.2 percent

For more information, please contact
Director General Mari Velsand   
Senior Advisor Line Langnes line  


Overview of listening figures from NMA - March 2018

Overview weekly radio coverage from Kantar Media (excel)

Overview of listening figures from NMA - January 2018

Overview of listening figures from NMA - 4th quarter 2017

Pressrelease 1/2017: Decline in Radio Listening Figures after the Digital Switchover

Pressrelease 2/2017: Stable Radio Listening Figures since September

Pressrelease 3/2017: Significant Change in Radio Listening Habits after Digital Switchover

Pressrelease 4/2017: Local Radio Listening Up by 20 Percent

Pressrelease 1/2018: Continuous decrease in radio listening for national channels – but increase for NRK in January

Press release 2/ 2018: The decline in radio listening on national channels has stopped