Thursday 26 August 2021

Swiss FM Radio Switch-Off Postponed

Radio station agree to switch off at the end of 2024. But yet the case is not closed.

Last year private radio broadcasters and public broadcaster SRG agreed on an early and staggered shutdown of the FM stations: in August 2022 for the SRG and in January 2023 for the private broadcasters.  In the past weeks and months, however, the shutdown has become more and more a political issue: the former media minister Doris Leuthard had already joined the discussion in June and advised the government to halt the process. Now FM will be retained for another couple of years.

In July, media pioneer Roger Schawinski submitted a petition to the federal government with over 60,000 signatures against the shutdown. After a meeting with Schawinski, the National Council's Transport and Telecommunications Commission (KVF-N) also called for an in-depth examination of the consequences of not switching off.

A large majority of broadcasters in German- and Italian speaking Switzerland continued to speak out in favor of the planned approach. In French-speaking Switzerland, however, a majority could no longer be found. However, since a nationwide solution is needed, the radios have now returned to their original plan to switch off the FM stations by December 31, 2024.

From this date no more FM programs could be broadcast. In a statement, Schawinski criticized the fact that the new shutdown date was only based on the expiry of private licenses and not on real radio usage. Because even after that, over a million Swiss cars are unlikely to have DAB reception. All of them will depend on FM for years to come for road safety.

Schawinski therefore called on politicians not to leave the decision to the private radio broadcasters. And the SRG must also get involved in the discussion instead of consistently hiding behind the private radio broadcasters. For the radio broadcasters, the postponement of the shutdown to the end of 2024 is associated with costs in the tens of millions, they said. No company can afford the double distribution via FM and DAB+ in the long run. (SDA)

In the end Switzerland will probably retain FM also after 2024. There are no plans to close the FM-networks in Switzerland’s close neighboring countries Germany, France, Italy and Austria.  Today, the only country in world which has closed its national FM is Norway although local radio is still on FM.  There are few countries in the world with DAB or DAB+ broadcasting established or even planned. 

Meanwhile, according to a new report by Goldmedia Consulting 60 percent of the audio- and radio listening in Switzerland is on the Internet. DAB is not a viable platform for future digital listening.

Read more

Radios wollen UKW-Übertragung nun doch erst Ende 2024 abschalten (RadioCentral)

High Level Questioning of Swiss FM Shutdown

Also read

FM Radio Not Be Switched-Off in the Czech Republic. Another DAB Setback

DAB Radio in Ireland Now Off-Air, Permanently

Radio- und Audionutzung via Internet legen kräftig zu (Goldmedia Consulting)