Why Norway’s FM Radio Debacle Couldn’t Happen Here


INFOCUS – Jan. 9, 2017

By Adam R Jacobson

News organizations across the globe on Friday reported on a Scandanavian situation two years in the making, which is now set to cause considerable disruption to all radio listeners in Norway.

This is the week that the Norwegian government approved the shutdown, en masse, of its FM signals; its MW (or AM) signals are already gone, as is the case in numerous countries across Europe.

It’s a controversial move, and one that has proven somewhat unpopular with Norwegians. Other nations are eyeing Norway, and asking themselves if a wholesale abandonment of broadcasts between 88 and 109 MHz, in favor of DAB broadcasts designed to expand listener choices — in the eyes of Norwegian leaders — is a wise idea.

Could such a scenario happen in the U.S.? It’s highly unlikely, thanks to a fight waged two decades ago by now-retired radio industry visionaries. But what if all FM signals — and AM signals — were to suddenly shift permanently to a digital environment? How would brokers react?

Meanwhile, what is HD Radio’s future, nearly 20 years after multicast channels were given the official go-ahead by the FCC?

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