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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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Continuous decrease in radio listening for national channels – but increase for NRK in January

Listening figures presented this week by the Norwegian Media Authority showed that radio listening on national channels dropped three minutes from December to January. However, NRK experienced listening growth during the same period.

In January NRK experienced growth in both daily and weekly listeners and in listening time. Daily listeners increased from 37,4 percentage in December 2017 to 38,9 percentage in January 2018, while weekly listeners increased from 60,3 to 61,0 percentage. Listening time increased from 45 to 49 minutes.


-  NRK has had the largest decrease in radio listening throughout 2017. We believe that the main reason behind this is that NRK switched off their FM broadcasts prior to the commercial channels in several switch-off regions. When the digital switchover now is completed, it appears as if NRK is regaining some of the listeners they lost during the switchover, says Mari Velsand, director of the Norwegian Media Authority.


Still a decrease for the national channels


Bauer Media experienced minor adjustments during the last month, while P4’s listening figures decreased. For P4 daily listeners decreased from 26,1 percentage in December 2017 to 20,6 percentage in January 2018.


- This decline is probably related to the FM switch-off for commercial channels in the Oslo region and in the counties of Troms and Finmark in December, says Mari Velsand.


In total the decrease in radio listening for national channels continues. Eleven listening minutes are lost since January 2017. During the past month, the drop in listening time was three minutes, from 74 to 71 minutes. Daily listeners on national channels has been reduced with 10,9 percentage points from January 2017 to January 2018. Weekly listening is more stable, with a 1,8 percentage points decrease during the same period.


We don’t listen to radio as often as we did before


- When there is a larger decrease in daily listeners than weekly listeners, people don’t listen to radio as often as they used to. A probable cause is that some people haven’t replaced all the FM-radios they used before. It will take some time for the radio listening to stabilize and we can see the real effect  of the digital switchover, says Velsand.


The traditional channels increased their daily listener share from 42,1 to 43,6 percentage last month compared to the niche channels from NRK, P4 and Bauer Media.


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

 

Main Points in the PPM Survey for January 2018 (pp. = percentage points)

  • Daily listeners to national channels decreases by 10,9 pp from January 2017 to January 2018. The last month, from December 2017 to January  2018, daily listeners decreased from 59,4 to 56,9 percent, which constitutes 2,5 pp.
  • Weekly listeners to national channels decreased by 1,8 pp from January 2017 to January 2018. The last month, from December 2017 to January  2018, weekly listeners decreased from 85,1 to 81,4 percent, which constitutes 3,7 pp.
  • From December to January NRK experienced a listener growth, Bauer Media had fairly stable figures (except weekly listeners) while P4 experienced a decrease in listeners.
  • Listening time on national channels decreased from 82 minutes in January 2017 to 71 minutes in January 2018. From December to January the decrease was three minutes, from 74 minutes to 71 minutes.

Overview of listening figures from NMA - January 2018

Overview weekly radio coverage from Kantar Media (excel)

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