Wednesday 11 August 2021

High Level Questioning of Swiss FM Shutdown

Plans for winding up FM radio might be postponed
Kommission für Verkehr und Fernmeldewesen des Nationalrats (Transport and Telecommunications Commission (KVF-N) in the Parliament ) demands that the federal government examine in more depth the consequences of not switching off FM (UKW) radio stations. The parliamentary services announced Tuesday.
The commission invited to the hearing representatives from the broadcasting industry, including the media pioneer Roger Schawinski, and the responsible communication agency OFCOM.  The MEPs in the commission wanted to further discuss the shutdown again at the end of August.
In the course of the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial radio broadcasting, the FM frequencies (VHF Band II) should not be in operation from January 2023 at the latest, according to an agreement between private radio operators. The public broadcaster SRG wants to switch off its FM stations in August 2022 in order to broadcast via DAB+ only (VHF Band III).

At the end of July, Schawinski submitted a petition to the federal government, with more than 60,000 signatures against the shutdown. Shutting down all VHF transmitters prematurely violated the freedom of reception guaranteed by law in the Radio and Television Act, argues Schawinski.

In recent years, the parliament had developed  the legal basis for switching from FM to DAB+. The broadcasters are to receive financial support during a transition phase. The FM licenses should then expire at the end of 2024. (SDA)

Norway is the only nation in the world to close down its national FM network. There are not any signs that any other country will copy Norway’s - and possibly Switzerland’s - decision to replace the global radio standard FM with DAB+.  Nowadays, in most countries digital radio is equal to radio via Internet.