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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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More information about the switchover

Please contact the Norwegian Media Authority at digitalradio@medietilsynet.no if you have any questions about the switchover in Norway.

You can also visit our website in Norwegian with more information.

Press release-messages about the switchover:

Digital radio at normal levels after FM switch off (September 15th, 2017, Radio.no)

NRK FM to be switched off in eastern Norway (September 15th, 2017, NTB)

Preparing for a smooth radio switch-over (April 24th, 2017, NTB)

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The decline in radio listening on national channels has stopped

Listening figures presented this week by the Norwegian Media Authority showed that the radio listening on national channels seems to have stabilized after a gradual decline last year. There is also a slight increase in listening time so far this year.

Daily radio listeners on national channels have increased from 56.9 per cent in January 2018 to 57.4 per cent in March. The total listening time has increased over the same period from 71 to 74 minutes.

– Radio listening has been expected to stabilize in 2018. The figures from March may indicate that the decrease in listening to national channels after the digital radio switchover is now coming to a hault. We can probably expect more stabilty in these numbers in the future, says Mari Velsand, Director General at the Norwegian Media Authority.

The proportion of daily listeners is stable

The relation between the main channels and niche channels of NRK, P4-group and Bauer Media is relatively stable when we compare figures from January with figures from March. The main channels had 43.6 per cent daily listening in January to 43.7 per cent in March. The niche channels have 30.1 per cent daily listening in January to 30.3 per cent in March.

The NRK channels have an increase in daily listeners from 38.9 per cent in January to 39.4 per cent in March, while there are marginal movements for the P4-group (20.6 per cent in January against 20.5 per cent in March) and Bauer Media (12.2 per cent in January vs 12.1 per cent in March).

Slight increase in listening time

The listening time for the main channels of the NRK, P4-group and Bauer Media has increased by one minute from January to March, from 47 to 48 listening minutes. The niche channels have increased by two minutes, from 24 to 26 listening minutes, over the same period.

Among the channel groups, NRK has the largest growth, from 49 listening minutes in January to 51 in March. The P4-group increases from 15 to 16 minutes in the same period while Bauer Media is stable at 8 minutes.

The listening figures presented by The Norwegian Media Authority this week are produced by Kantar Media. Quarterly listening figures for local radio were published by The Norwegian Media Authority in January.

 Main findings in the PPM Survey for March 2018 (pp. = percentage points)

  • Development in the proportion of daily listeners in 2018: January 56, 9 %, February 57.0 %, March 57.4 %
  • Development in listening time in 2018: January 71 minutes, February 72 minutes, March 74 minutes
  • The total listening time has increased by three minutes in 2018, that is eight minutes less than in January 2017
  • Listening on national channels seems to have stabilized after a gradual decline during the switchover year 2017

For more information, please contact
Director General Mari Velsand mari.velsand@medietilsynet.no   
Senior Advisor Line Langnes line.langnes@medietilsynet.no  

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