Thursday 28 June 2018

Government's plan to turn off the FM band is ”stone dead”

Another setback for DAB promoters in Denmark
The government and the Danish People's Party (DF) have entered the final phase of the parliamentarian negotiations on the media settlement that will form the framework for the country's media 2019-2024. On the way to the negotiations with Minister of Culture Mette Bock (LA), DF media chairman Morten Marinus states that the media agreement will not open for the government proposed FM switch-off. The idea of a switch-off was to push forward a transition to digital terrestrial DAB radio.

- The idea to turn off the FM band is stone dead. So we will not discuss it anymore, but everything else is still in play, says the DF media chair.

When the government presented its media performance in April, it was proposed to turn off the FM radio two years after it was found that half of the radio broadcasting was digital - but no later than 2021. The proposal was met with great public resistance. The criticism has focused on all the car radios which has to be discarded if the FM band is closed. It would also risk creating a traffic jam because many motorists will no longer receive traffic messages on the radio.

This concern has been heard from several political parties including the Social Democrats. Together with DF they are the two largest parties in Denmark. Earlier this months the Minister of Culture acknowledged that "it is a relevant issue”.

It is only the Danish People's Party that is left in the negotiations for the media settlement. All opposition parties are out of negotiations - among other things because they have refused to accept the government and DF's 20 percent savings deal for the public broadcaster Danmarks Radio.

Now there will be a continued uphill struggle for the promoters of DAB radio in Denmark because there is not a sustainable market demand. Not only the listeners want to retain their FM listening but still there is no interest for new channels to go on the commercial DAB multiplex run by Teracom Denmark. The major commercial broadcaster Bauer is both on FM and DAB+ . DAB was introduced in Denmark 2002 and listening on a weekly basis is 16%.

Read more
DF slår fast: Regeringens plan om at slukke FM-båndet er stendød (Danmarks Radio)

Also read
No FM Radio Switch-Off in Denmark. Lack of Political Support
Danish DAB Radio Setback- FM Listening Increased
368 New FM Broadcast Licenses Issued in Denmark