During 2017, Norway will become the first country in the world to start shutting down its national FM radio network in favor of digital radio. Traditional FM radio receivers will not have any local stations to receive. I am not familiar with radio stations and reception in neighboring countries, so I am not sure what the people in Norway might be able to receive on traditional FM radio once their local stations all go digital.
I read an article on the topic a few days ago, and give some thought to the question. It quickly turned to a "who cares" type of issue. I scratched my head a bit, wondering why I should care. Norway is not a leader in technology, so how is this an earth shaking news story?
But in recent days it appears that technology in Norway has people thinking. I am actually surprised how many people have posted or commented about it. I have been asked, does it makes sense to eliminate FM radio in favor of digital broadcasts?
Being the geek that I am, I decided to read a bit more before I reacted. It took me little time to find this article, Digital has not killed the radio frequency in Canada FM radio is old. So why hasn't digital made a dent? which states, "During the late '90s and 2000s, Canada experimented with the digital audio broadcasting (DAB) model that Norway will shift to this week — and it was a flop."
Based on that article, from the CBC Radio Canada, it doesn't sound like Norway is such a pioneer.
I quickly found another article from Reuters, Norway to switch off FM radio in risky, unpopular shift to digital which states, "There are 2 million cars on Norwegian roads that don't have DAB receivers, and millions of radios in Norwegian homes will stop working when the FM net is switched off."
Does it makes sense to eliminate traditional FM radio in favor of digital broadcasts?
So, to answer the question, does it makes sense to eliminate FM radio in favor of digital broadcasts? After reading several news articles, I can confirm my initial reaction. Ah, no, it makes no sense at all.
The days of traditional AM and FM radio are definitely declining, but in the United States there are a lot stations still operating. In fact, according to the FCC the number of broadcast stations licensed as of December 31, 2016, is 4669 AM stations and 6746 commercial FM stations. I know I sound like an advertisement for your local radio, but even with all our access to the internet for news and information, millions of Americans are still depending on traditional AM and FM radio for news and information on the morning drive.
Someone stated the reason for the change was that the "equipment is outdated and is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain." Working in technology for more 40 years, I could apply that remark to quite a bit of things we use everyday. When I use that logic people usually tell me to quit complaining.
Learn more: Geekhistory explores who invented radio
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