It was the British band the Buggles that famously predicted that video would kill the radio star, but in Norway, the coup de grâce was delivered by digital audio broadcasting (DAB). While technically still radio, DAB (and its newer cousin, DAB+) requires different receivers — and as of Jan. 11, 2017, it's all Norwegian radio listeners will have access to. On that date, the government announced last week, the country's five FM stations will be shut off.
Norway will be the first nation to scrap analog radio completely, though Europe has been trending that direction for more than a decade. "Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality," said Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey in a statement. "Digitization will also greatly improve the emergency preparedness system, facilitate increased competition, and offer new opportunities for innovation and development."
The country will initially have at least 22 digital stations, versus its five national FM stations, and broadcasting in digital is apparently cheaper. But it won't be a painless switch for Norway: 44 percent of Norwegian radio users currently only listen to FM, and only 20 percent of private cars are quipped with a DAB receiver, according to Radio.no. And nationwide, nearly 8 million radios will become obsolete on that fateful day in January 2017.
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