Say Goodbye To Your FM Radio As Big Switch-Off Starts

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Written By Saeed Maleki

More old technology is about to become defunct as the first country switches off FM radio in favour of digital signals.

Millions of home and car radios will stop picking up FM radio signals in Norway from week as the network is phased out across the country over the rest of the year.

Despite howls of protests from two out of three Norwegians, the government refused to change stance and voted for the measure.

The winning argument was Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) is better quality and carries more channels than FM, which first hit the air waves in the 1950s. Experts testified DAB would have more clarity, no hiss and fewer black spots across the mountainous country.

Protestors argue more than 2 million vehicles cannot pick up DAB without spending around £150 adapters and millions more home devices reliant on FM will become redundant.

DAB radio rules the roost

Norway is the first nation to switch off FM, but heads a queue of other nations rushing to go digital.

Switzerland plans phasing out FM from 2020, while Britain and Denmark are considering the move as well.

Britain will start switching over when DAB reaches a listenership of 50% of the audience, which could be as soon as the end of the year, said a spokesman for Digital Radio UK.

“We’re the first country to switch off FM but there are several countries going in the same direction,” said Ole Joergen Torvmark, head of Digital Radio Norway, which is owned by national radio broadcasters.

Torvmark argued that for the same cost as an FM network, DAB could deliver eight times as many channels.

Disruptive technology

Digital technology advances have seen online downloads disrupt traditional TV, radio and music delivery systems in recent years.

Apple’s App Store chalked up more than $28 billion in sales last year for downloads.

Many devices have become smaller – while TV screens have migrated away from the cathode ray tube and become much larger.

Cables have all but disappeared as wireless technology has improved.

Blu-Ray is fast vanishing and as prophesised by Microsoft mogul Bill Gates, is likely to be the last disc format in wide use.