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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.

 

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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. 

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Background

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)

 

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Growth in listening figures for local radio has stagnated

The strong growth in local radio listening after the FM switch-off has come to a halt. This is clear from new listening figures presented by the Norwegian Media Authority. – Over the past six months, the population share of daily listeners for local radio has declined by 1.5 percentage points, says Mari Velsand, Director general of the Norwegian Media Authority.

October 22th 2018

Compared to the first quarter of the year, fewer people are listening to local radio in most areas of the country, with the exception of the three northernmost counties. The greatest decline is seen in Switch-off Region 2 (Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal), where the share of daily listeners for local radio has dropped by 4.1 percentage points. In Switch-off Region 4 (Southern and Western Norway), the decline is 1.8 percentage points, while Switch-off Region 3 (Telemark, Buskerud, Hedmark and Oppland) have experienced a decline of 2 percentage points. The development in the Oslo area (Switch-off Region 5) is relatively stable, with a decrease of 0.8 percentage points.

However, the three northernmost counties continue to experience an increase in the number of local radio listeners. The increase in Switch-off Region 1 (Nordland) is 1.2 percentage points since the first quarter of the year, while the increase in Switch-off Region 6 (Troms and Finnmark) is 2.8 percentage points.

Most significant increase in Finnmark after FM switch-off

After the FM switch-off in 2017, local radio experienced a significant increase in the number of listeners. Compared to the third quarter of 2016, local radio has increased its overall share of daily listeners in Switch-off Region 2 (Telemark, Buskerud, Hedmark, Oppland), Switch-off Region 1 (Nordland) and Switch-off Region 6 (Troms and Finnmark). The greatest increase during this period has been in Troms and Finnmark, where the total population share of daily listeners for local radio has increased from 7.9 to 14.5 percent. This corresponds to an increase of no less than 84 percent from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2018.

In the other counties in Norway, local radio has had a drop in daily listeners compared to 2016.

Development in national radio listening on the regional level


Changes to the share of daily listeners for national radio on a regional level varies in most counties by up to 2 percentage points when comparing the number of listeners from the first to the third quarter in 2018. The exceptions are Switch-off Regions 1 (Nordland) and 2 (Troms and Finnmark), where NRK has experienced a decline of 5.2 and 3.6 percentage points compared to the first quarter, and Switch-off Region 4 (Southern and Western Norway), where the P4 Group and Bauer Media have increased their share by 2.6 and 2.3 percentage points.

The listening figures presented today by the Norwegian Media Authority were prepared by Kantar Media and are part of the Consumer & Media study conducted quarterly. This study shows listener figures for local radio and for national radio on a regional level.

 Overview of listening figures from NMA 3th quarter 2018

Overview radio coverage from Kantar Media (excel)

Main developments - percentage of daily local radio listeners

Switch-off Regions First quarter of 2018 Third quarter of 2018 Change
(percentage points)

1. Nordland

8,1 % 9,3 % +1,2
2. Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal 16,8 % 12,7 % -4,1
3. Telemark, Buskerud, Hedmark, Oppland 18,7 % 16,7 % -2,0
4. Sogn og Fjordane, Hordaland, Rogaland, Agder counties 14,5 % 12,7 % -1,8
5. Østfold, Vestfold, Oslo, Akershus 12,2 % 11,4 % -0,8
6. Troms og Finnmark 11,7 % 14,5 % +2,8

For more information, please contact   and

 

Overview of listening figures from NMA - September 2018

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

Press release 4/2018: Stable development in national radio listening in 2018

Press release 3/ 2018: New Listening figures for local radio shows increase

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

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

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

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

Pressrelease 2/2017: Stable Radio Listening Figures since September

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