Tuesday 17 April 2018

Norwegian Local Radio Will Continue On FM

Union adopted a resolution for expanding FM. New chairman elected.
NLF members are large and small local radio stations throughout Norway, both commercial and non-commercial (community radio). Aslak Sommerfelt Skretting (Jærradio Group) /picture at the right/ has been selected as new chair of the Norwegian Local Radio Association (NLF) after Svein Larsen (Radio Metro). - The meeting in Kristiansand also decided that local radio must be allowed to continue and expand on the FM band for the same license period as for DAB broadcasters, until 2031.

NLF wants a more liberal frequency policy for local radio on FM, including extension of analog licenses until 2031, which corresponds to the license period for DAB broadcasters.
Furthermore, the authorities should not be able to regulate or control the media, in terms of content, income requirements, distribution platforms or local media, such as by rebroadcasting or program cooperation.

NLR has always been against switching off FM. Despite strong opposition from the national broadcasters (NRK, MTG and Bauer), which have been supported by the authorities, NLR has so far managed to retain FM for local radio in Norway.

NLR calls on politicians and other stakeholders to focus on the diversity that Norwegian local radio stations have before it's too late. The NLR therefore urges the authorities to facilitate a media policy that ensures that

1. Current FM licenses are extended until Dec 31, 2031
2. Available FM frequencies can be used by local radio
3. The transmitter power of FM stations could increase significantly
4. Commercial local radio on FM should also be able to broadcast in major cities
5. The license terms for FM in switch-off areas should be liberalized

The association awarded this year's honorary award to Eivind Engberg, well-known leading broadcast engineer in Norway.

The switch-over to DAB+ for national broadcasters has been of benefit for local FM broadcasters as some have experienced sharp listener increases. National broadcasters have not yet regained former listenership levels after the 2017 switch-over. Last week total listening to NRK, P4 (MTG) and Radio Norge (Bauer) was at 56,7%. Total listening to local commercial or community radio on FM is estimated at 20-25%. There is also cross-border listening on FM mainly Swedish public radio P3. 

Also read
Why DAB Radio in Norway, But Not in Sweden?
DAB Radio in Norway Close to the Abyss. FM Still On.
BBC: No Switch-Off Plans for FM Radio