11 January 2017

Norway starts tuning out analog radio in favor of digital

A driver adjusts an FM radio inside a car in Oslo, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. From Wednesday, Norway will become the first in the world to phase out analog signals in favor of Digital Audio Broadcasting, or DAB. The move has provoked concern for the elderly and motorists, while others will be nostalgic for the crackling sound of old radio.
Norway began shutting down analog radio technology Wednesday as the Scandinavian country becomes the first in the world to phase out the FM signal for national and some regional broadcasting.

The FM signal was switched off in the Arctic Nordland district in favor of Digital Audio Broadcasting, or DAB.

The switchover was performed by radio listener Bertih Pauline Olderskog who moved a lever to drum rolls and a countdown from the audience at a public library in Bodoe, northern Norway. Olderskog said she had been listening to FM radio for more than 70 years.

Graham Dixon, head of the European Broadcasting Union's radio unit who took part in the event that was webcasted, said the switchover shows that "media can be renewed for the contemporary world."

The head of the public Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK, Thor Gjermund Eriksen, called it a "historic moment."

Norway gradually switches to digital and the shutdown process is due to be completed by Dec. 13.
In this photo taken on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, 98-year-old Judith Haaland sits next to her decades-old radio set in Stavanger, Norway. In a move likely to be watched closely by other nations, the Norwegian government will begin shutting off the FM signal on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. By the end of the year, national networks will be available only on Digital Audio Broadcast, or DAB.

The Norwegian government has cited its landscape with deep fjords, high mountains and scattered communities for making it expensive to operate FM networks. Norway's Parliament made the decision in May 2011.

An estimated 200 million kroner ($23.4 million) will be saved, according to official figures.