Tuesday 31 October 2017

Norwegian Radio Market Faces Dramatic Changes. Local Radio Up on FM

Listeners abandoning national channels as DAB is not living up to its promises.  
Thanks to the fact that the national channels (with public broadcaster NRK in the lead) are leaving FM, many local radio stations are increasing their audiences. It shows the listening polls for the third quarter. The two most outstanding counties (fylken) is Hedmark and Telemark, but also in the other counties the increase is pronounced. Several reports show a clear trend that large-scale listeners will remain on FM while many also complement and expand their channel selection with radio via mobile broadband even by car. 

In Telemark county, 18% now listen to local radio daily. In the third quarter of 2016 it was 7%. This corresponds to an increase of more than 150%. Strong local radio stations include Radio Grenland, Radio Rjukan, Hjalarhornet and Radio West.

Even in nearby Vestfold county, there is a strong increase for local radio, despite the fact that more national channels are still available on FM. Radio Tønsberg and the other local radio stations in Vestfold together have 16% daily listening in the third quarter of 2017, compared with 7% in the same quarter of the previous year.

Hedmark does not have the biggest increase, but it is still impressive figures. About 28% of the population in Hedmark listen to local radio daily. Local radio in Hedmark performed very well in the third quarter of 2016, but now increased over 100%.

Similar figures are found in Møre & Romsdal counties where local radio has increased by 120% during the past year. The local radio had a total of 10% support in Q3 2016 and 22% in Q3 2017. There are also strong radio stations like 1 FM Molde and Radio Ålesund.

In Western Agder county, local radio has also increased sharply, although commercial P4 and Radio Norge were still on FM in the measured quarter. Nevertheless, local stations in the south of Norway can boast an increase of 60% from 11 to 17% daily listening.

Oppland and Nordland actually have the same increase. Both get 8% in the third quarter of 2016 to 14% in the third quarter of this year. That the increase is equal is probably random, but both places have got local listeners thanks to the fact that the national channels leave FM.

Read more at lokalradio.no

Facts & Analysis
There are about 200 commercial or non-commercial (community) local radio stations in Norway. There has been no political decision to shut down FM in general and local radio will continue to broadcast on FM. Only a few broadcast on DAB+ ( or both FM and DAB+)

An interesting observation is that all local radio is Norwegian owned and operated, while the two commercial networks Radio Norge and P4 are owned by the foreign media groups Bauer and MTG. Together with the state owned NRK, these operators are scheduled to leave FM before the end of the year.

Norway is now entering a unique situation with a dual broadcast system for radio. The national broadcasters will be on DAB+ only and the local broadcasters will be on FM mostly.

Also read
DAB-transition in Norway: Public Radio Down, Up for Local FM Radio
DAB Vision for Alternative Use of FM Band Fades Away
Public Revolt Against DAB Radio in Norway Intensifying
DAB Transition in Norway Heading For a Flop