Norway Turns Off the Lights on FM Radio

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Recently, news came forth that Norway is planning to be the first nation to eliminate FM radio. It goes without saying that this move is significant given how long FM radio has been in existence. Norway’s intention is to replace FM with digital audio broadcasting (DAB), with the transition expected to be completed by the end of the year. Proponents of DAB point out its advantages, including better reception and lower operating costs.

However, many Norwegians do not support this move—some 66%, according to a recent poll. Although the government says this move will save a significant amount of money, critics have not been shy in voicing their opinion. Some have said that the country is simply not prepared to eliminate FM radio. For example, many cars on the road do not even have DAB receivers. Many radios in homes will no longer work when FM radio is shut down.

No question, it will be interesting to follow Norway’s transition away from FM. It will also be interesting to see which other nations ultimately decide to follow in its footsteps. Several other European countries, such as Switzerland, Denmark, and the UK, are strong candidates to similarly eliminate FM radio in the future, so they will surely be interested to see how this all unfolds.

While a similar move is not likely to happen in the U.S. anytime soon, it does beg the question of what life would be like without FM radio. Although there are some who do not listen to FM radio much—if at all—many others still rely on this “old” technology. Without a doubt, many people would surely be unhappy if FM radio ever did go away.

This “old vs. new” debate also led me to think about the “print vs. digital media” one. While many outlets have transitioned  away from print media, a large number of people still prefer the “old school” approach of reading a physical magazine. If you are holding this magazine in your hands right now, then you are already bearing witness to that. For many, print media is still something that is appreciated.

Finally, with all of this being said, both old-fashioned FM radio and print magazines (at least this one) can still be enjoyed here in the U.S. That’s (hopefully) good news for many.

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Chris DeMartino

Chris has worked in the RF/microwave industry since 2004. Throughout this time, he has helped to develop and test a variety of RF/microwave components and assemblies for both commercial and military...
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