Increased Political Majority Against FM Switch-Off. Commercial radio postponing digital terrestrial radio
At its party conference the liberal Center Party decided in support of the government decision to not go ahead with the proposed transition from FM to digital radio DAB+ in 2017-2022. There are too much uncertainty regarding a transition i.e. the emergency issues. The party demands a more elaborated analyzis before a decision can be taken.
According to the Center Party a new replacement technology should meet some central criteria. It should have the same surface coverage as FM in all parts of the country. The stability for radio broadcasting should be secured as well as the democractic aspects. The chosen technology should also be economically viable for the society.
With the position now taken by the Center Party there is a pronounced majority in the Parliament against any plans for an FM switch-off. Four parties are against; the two parties in the government coalition (the Social Democrats and the Green Party) and two in the opposition (the Center Party and the Sweden Democrats). The other parties are presently reconsidering their positions regarding FM and DAB.
Meanwhile the two commercial radio networks Bauer (ex-SBS) and MTG are holding 21 of 25 permits for DAB+ broadcasting which should have been on air October 1. The companies have now applied and also been granted a nine months postponed launch to July 1, 2016.
If the public radio, Sveriges Radio, will not go DAB and continue on FM, the commercial operators will probably abandon their planned transition to DAB+. There are bleak prospects of radio listeners voluntarily giving up FM and also leaving online for DAB. Especially on smartphones and other mobile platforms all of which are not DAB-able.
Last week after a closed auction Bauer and MTG were granted the four vacant FM channels in Stockholm, Gotthenburg and Åre/Östersund.