The move is similar to the digital switchover for television that was completed in the UK in 2012.
It will be a testing time for the radio industry. Experts worry that unless broadcasters have informed listeners fully, they may stop listening to radio altogether and opt for CDs or streaming services like Spotify instead.
Norway is quite forward thinking when it comes to radio, and 22 national stations already broadcast on digital (DAB) while only five are still on FM.
According to the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, the switch to DAB will save an estimated 200 million Norwegian Kroner (£17 million). The FM network costs eight times more than DAB, partly because DAB transmitters are much more power-efficient.
The UK was set to switch to DAB this year, but because so few people own DAB radios, the switchover date was delayed indefinitely. One of the main problems is the lack of in-car DAB radios that exist. Around half of new cars are equipped with DAB radios, but many people drive older models which don’t have the technology.
At the moment, no date has been set for a UK switchover, but back in 2013, communications minister Ed Vaizey said it might not happen until after 2020.
Are you ready for DAB?What you need to know about the switch to digital radio.
- You don’t need a new radio yet, as the switchover isn’t likely to happen for a few years.
- If you are looking for a new radio anyway, make sure you get one with DAB (digital audio broadcasting) so it’s futureproofed. Otherwise, you could have to shell out for a new one in a few years’ time.
- While some areas have poor DAB reception, coverage is becoming more widespread. The DAB network will have to be comparable to the current FM one before the switchover starts, so don’t worry, you won’t be left out!
- DAB radios have other features like a screen, so you can see who’s presenting and what song is playing.
- You can also listen to DAB radio through your digital TV set – just look for stations in the electronic programme guide (EPG).