Seven out of ten say reject FM switch-off. DAB project close to a fiasco.
In an opinion poll on behalf of the national daily Dagbladet the resistance is at its greatest in the three northernmost counties. The switch-off begins in January in Nordland. An overwhelming majority of the people are strongly against closing the FM network and a transition to DAB. 66 percent of respondents said that they were against moving from FM to DAB. Only 17% say they are for this. Dagbladet carried an identical survey in July this year, with almost the same results.
The chairman of the Norwegian Association of Local Radio Svein Larsen says that the poll shows a healthy, popular opposition to an unnecessary change. He is still surprised that only 17 percent want to close FM. In spite of NRK the public broadcaster's intense DAB campaign, it is remarkably low. They still have not managed to convince people that this transition is necessary, said Larsen, adding that he believes that the resistance increases after switching-off in Nordland.
The results show that the resistance is strong across the country, but little less in Oslo by 54 percent. 66% were against in Eastern and Western Norway, while the resistance rises the farther north you go, with 68% in central Norway and 76% in Northern Norway.
It is a paradox that people do not want to DAB when politicians and the NRK claims it is so good. I believe we have underestimated the psychological aspects. This is introduced by coercion and people do not like to be forced to a new technology, says Per Morten Hoff, former secretary general of the ICT trade organization IKT-Norge to Dagbladet.
Local radio (commercial or community radio) will continue on FM at least until 2022 except in some of the major cities. And the public broadcaster will maintain its AM medium wave transmitter on Svalbard in the North. An estimated third of Norway is able to listen to FM cross-border broadcasts from Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
The debate on DAB and FM has increased in intensity this year. Newspapers and social media are full of reports about poor DAB coverage along the roads and the coastal coverage at sea halved, generally poor sound quality, jerky reception conditions, etc. No convincing proof that the level of emergency preparedness is good enough with DAB as well as the digital vulnerability i.e. data hacking into a DAB i-car radios. Many also doubt any environmental benefits of replacing approximately 8 million FM receivers and a lots of older DAB receiver with perhaps as many receivers for DAB+. (Old DAB is not compatible with DAB+).
In the debate it is that Sweden has rejected DAB and that Norway is the only country in the world to turn off FM radio. Many also are discovering that radio listening via the Internet provides much greater choice and better sound quality than DAB.
The DAB radio project has not been able to live up to what was promised the Norwegian people at the Storting decision in 2011. Politicians will probably get a hard nut to crack in the election year of 2017.
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Ny undersøkelse: 7 av 10 vil ikke slukke FM (in Norwegian)