While radio is a medium that has ebbed and flowed during the course of the past century, it still remains a key mode of communication. Additions and enhancements have been met with varying degrees of success, with one of those being the concept of FM radio. Still popular in most parts of the world, FM is now facing a severe challenge for its very future as Norway has taken steps to phase it out by the end of 2017.
Economics are the most pertinent reason for the country’s decision, with analog radio being pushed aside in favor of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB). The added costs of having signals in position to bring such programs to the country’s population of 5.25 million have been the byproduct of its specific geography.
To bolster their argument, the government has said that the estimated $23 million in savings by broadcasters will allow them to invest in more state-of-the-art equipment. The plan is being implemented on a regional basis, with people within the northernmost area of the country seeing this change as of January 11.
Some of the critics of the move say that it shortchanges many of those driving cars. That’s because an estimated two million people or more don’t have the capability to obtain digital content, thereby rendering their car radio useless. That can lead to dangerous scenarios during the winter months in this frigid area, with the only options available to those individuals being the purchase of a $175 adapter or a $570 DAB radio.
Not everyone will see changes by the time the process is completed. Small radio stations with limited budgets will be able to continue their current broadcasting procedures until 2022, with some hope held out that they will be permanently exempted at that time.