The year after the decommissioning of the nationwide FM broadcasts, the national radio listening have fallen with 400.000 daily listeners. The introduction of DAB and the closure of the FM network must being regarded to be the main cause according to the Norwegian Radio Listeners’ Association (NRLF). In a letter to all 169 politicians in the parliament (Stortinget) NRLF requests that local radio be given unlimited broadcast access on the FM band.
The NRLF also believes that strengthening of local radio on the FM band will create an improved radio landscape with a much more varied content than currently is offered on DAB, which are generally pure music channels with no content of interest.
The NRLF has nine points of request to the politicians:
- The broadcast provider Norkring should be instructed to stop disassembling / removing of FM transmitters.NRLF believes that the introduction of commercial DAB technology and the fact that the Norwegian radio landscape now is dominated by NRK, Bauer and MTG which is not take into account the needs of the end users.
- The road authority should be instructed to allow local radio to use vacant FM transmitters in tunnels.
- Local radio should be able to continue on the FM band after 2021.
- State aid for investments in DAB technology must cease.
- Local radio stations in Finnmark (in northern Norway) must receive state support for the operation of local radio.
- FM broadcasts must be allowed without restrictions also in the metro cities (Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim).
- FM transmitter with transmitter power up to 5000 watts may be used by local radio.
- Regional emergency preparedness agreements should be made with local radio to ensure emergency alarm systems.
- New local radio stations which meet the transmission requirements will be allowed to use vacant FM frequencies previously used by the three national radio companies (now transmitting solely to DAB).
The question about the future for FM and DAB in Norway will come be on the agenda when the Stortinget reconvenes October 1st after the summer recess. Two political parties - the Progress party (Frp) and Center Party (Sp) have already decided to support a continuation of FM for local radio beyond 2021. Some MP’s in the two major parties the Conservatives and Labour have also start questioning the DAB transition.
The debate was ignited this summer after a respected journalist and former CEO of the news bureau NTB Thor Viksveen published his book DAB - Outdated before it is updated? He was critical to the process leading to the political decision. The politicians did not know what they decided on. The agenda was set by the DAB lobby.
Since six months adding to the the fiery debate against DAB in the daily press and on social media is the pod series Hvem slukket lyset på FM? (Who switched-off the light of FM?) with 61.000 streams.
What is NRLF?Read the full letter from NRLF
The purpose of the association NRLF is to attend to the radio listeners' interest for a viable Norwegian radio. The association also works for freedom of expression and diversity in the Norwegian radio community by promoting this towards politicians, the media and the citizens. The NRLF will counter monopolies and work for diversity in both commercial and non-commercial driven radio.
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