|"3 out of 5 slaughter DAB"|
As the first and still only country in the world Norway is trying to replace FM radio with DAB+ by forcing the listeners over to this technology. This might end up as an embarrasing mistake by the politicians.
According to a survey commissioned by the newspaper Dagbladet, as many as 60 percent of the radio listeners are not satisfied with the transition to DAB. 16 percent said they do not know what they like about the transition, while 24 percent are satisfied. Dissatisfaction is widely distributed across the country. Also in areas where public broadcaster NRK has not yet closed the FM transmitters.
This signals that the DAB project has not necessarily focused on users. It has been both a high political game and political focus more than a user focus, said Hilde Arnesen Austlid, CEO of industry organization ICT Norway to Dagbladet.
Ole Jørgen Torvmark at the lobbying company Digitalradio Norge AS does not believe that the numbers show that most people are against DAB radio. I think this survey shows that you want the cake and eat it too. They want both FM and DAB. This applies in particular to those who listen in the car. There are many who think it's annoying to install an adapter or other equipment, he said to the newspaper.
In a comment in the daily Aftenposten, Joacim Lund writes that DAB is increasingly becoming an expensive and far from perfect detour to digitalizing the radio, as ICT Norway has pointed out. When the listeners discover it, they are obviously extra prone to look at the bank statements and find that they have purchased new DAB radios for thousands of crowns on failing terms. He believes that it's no wonder that people are so unhappy because radio companies are meeting the complaints of the listeners with arrogance.
In June, 1.2 million people listened daily to digital radio daily. According to Digitalradio Norway, they are listening to NRK P1, P2 and P3 or P4 and Radio Norway.
DAB coverage is still not good enough. Because of this NRK has announced installment of one hundred additional transmitters to ensure better coverage. These new transmitters will be at an additional cost on the NRK DAB budget.
When will the bubble burst?
In daily press and on social media the debate on DAB and FM is intensifying. In almost all articles and posts, the DAB project is treated negatively. The only positive exceptions are contributions coming from the DAB lobby. There is an unusually clear and vocal opinion against the whole project.
A great many Norwegians express anger and disappointment regarding the decision of politicians to let the national radio stations leave the FM band. The postings state that everything worked well with FM and now everything is getting worse. It is mainly the poor coverage with many interruptions that most often are mentioned by the listeners.
Listeners are also annoyed by the lack of sound quality on DAB compared to FM and on a higher degree Internet radio capacity. But there are also many who feel overwhelmed by a political decision that forces citizens to invest in new equipment for something they never asked for.
In the debate, questions have been raised which motives are behind the DAB initiative. It turns out that the decision of the Stortinget is based almost entirely on one-sided facts provided to the politicians by NRK, Digitalradio Norge AS and other DAB lobbyists. The DAB initiative is considered by several writers as "one of the biggest political mistakes in Norway in modern times", and it is increasingly remarked that the decision makers are incompetent and may also be corrupted.
Despite the widespread popular dissatisfaction over all party boundaries, there has yet to be any signals from the political parties to reconsider the decision to close FM. It is reckoned that the political parties are trying to avoid that the DAB project will be on the agenda before the parliamentary elections in September. The two major parties - the Social Democrats and the Conservative - are still committed to DAB.
Norway is still the only country in the world which has decided to discontinue FM for its national broadcasters. For at least another five years local commercial radio and community radio will continue to broadcast on FM. Any decision on a continuation has not yet been taken and local radio is now fighting for its survival.
Norwegian newspaper articles
Slakter DAB-omlegginga- DAB er noe tull (Dagbladet)
Bare hver femte er fornoyde med DAB (Journalisten)
Er det rart folk er misfornøyd med DAB-radio? (Aftenposten)
DAB Transition in Norway Heading For a Flop
FM Radio Retained in Norway - Also After 2022