Norway is the very first country in the world that tries to abandon FM radio band broadcasting totally. The Norwegian state have therefore declared war on radio stations that still is broadcasting on the FM Radio band. One of these radio stations is Radio Metro in the Oslo area. They have tried to go another route than P4 and Radio Norway, which turned off their FM broadcast frequencies in Eastern Norway on Friday.
Radio Metro is a victim of unfair competition
Radio chief Svein Larsen does not want to follow the extinguishing plan of the nationwide actors, because the case is finally ESA treatment and that he believes Radio Metro is a victim of unfair discrimination. This radio station is a lot smaller than the bigger national commercial radio stations and will therefore suffer from much less listening numbers if they decide to abandon FM like everyone else. So, Radio Metro have decided to stay on FM band, which is in favor over DAB+ in sound quality and detection quality.
P4 and Radio Norway turned off their FM stations in Eastern Norway on Friday, December 8th. Earlier this fall, NRK did also the same. The state-owned actors also demanded that the local radio stations in the big cities should turn off their FM signals at the same time so that they would not get any benefits and hijack listeners in the transition to DAB. But why? NRK gets license fee income from millions of users, while Radio Metro is earning on advertisement. So, why NRK should even bother and try to force others to quit FM support is beyond sense.
State wants to punish Radio Metro
Radio Metro in Oslo, did broadcast and tried to challenge the government by staying on the FM radio band. Radio Manager. Svein Larsen thinks it’s wrong that he had to turn off his transmitters because the competitors wants him to do it. Why should NRK even bother? They don’t have advertisement. They are Norway’s national radio broadcaster, and they decided to abandon FM and so they want everyone else to follow. But, Radio Metro will suffer if they do. So, they have taken this case to ESA which is handling the case.
The closing date came before ESA has finished processing the case and so Radio Metro decides to still broadcast on FM band
Norsk Lokalradioforbund which is the organ for the local radio stations in Norway, has appealed the suspension of FM by ESA, which is the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the overall Norwegian authorities. For a long time, they have dealt with the matter and asked the Ministry of Culture to respond. Svein Larsen at Radio Metro believes it is problematic that the closing date came before ESA has finished processing the case. Norsk Lokalradioforbund has received a deadline by ESA for December 14th to submit its comments to the Ministry’s letter of 2 November. ESA is going to handle the case before Christmas and so Radio Metro choose to continue broadcasting on FM. The Ministry has waited for 6 months to respond to the letter.
“Radio Metro will nevertheless wait for ESA’s finalization of the case before we may turn off our FM radio band frequencies in Oslo,” says Svein Larsen
Traveling doubts about the status of the plan
– Several of the national channels have not followed their own shutdown. Among other things, P4 still has its consignments in Buskerud long after they had closed their broadcasts on June 16, according to the shutdown schedule. But they have continued to send without the Media Authority’s intervention. This means 6 months of transmission in a switch-off area. Then we have good reason to doubt the status of extinguishing plan, “says Larsen.
The parliament has decided that the radio in Norway should be digitized. This transaction and a technological shift isn’t controlled by listeners at all and it is currently very slow. It is NRK and the commercial actors with foreign owners, P4 and Radio Norway, who have made the DAB transition and made the plan for FM radio band shutdown. They have money and can survive the change from FM to DAB+ easier as they have national coverage. The Norwegian Media Authority has therefore shown that the shutdown plan for the national players has been actor-driven. But local radio stations was not party to the decision of closing FM at all. Local radio stations have been granted so that they can send on FM until year 2022, to have better time for the transition to DAB, but not in the big cities.
Oslo have around 600 000, Bergen have around 300 000 and Trondheim have around 150 000. Within these numbers there are several that haven’t bought or even bothered getting a DAB compatible radio. In fact, many have abandoned radio totally after DAB+ got introduced in Norway. We at Distrita have asked several people on the Karl Johan street in Oslo, if they have got a DAB radio and most is either skeptical or have stopped fully listening to radio. Out of 1000 people during Saturday and Sunday questionary, 958 were negative towards closing of FM band.
With our small action in the streets and with the news popping up everywhere. This transition to DAB+ is a totally catastrophic/disaster for Norwegian radio media and still NRK, P4 and Radio Norge pushes the local radio stations to turn off their FM radio band broadcasts. It’s really unfair. The local radio stations should be able to broadcast on FM in the bigger cities in Norway or else the Norwegian government should pay these local radio stations for the transactions so they wont suffer because of loosing way too many listeners!
Unclear response from the Media Authority in Norway
Svein Larsen has in a letter to the Media Authority asked for answers to why they have not intervened when P4 has not followed his own shutdown, but does not feel that the audit has contributed to any clarification. It’s really unfair for the local radio stations to be treated in a different way when P4 is doing the same. Here the state should fine all that is broadcasting FM. Either its P4, Radio Norge or even NRK too. But since they are all part of pushing DAB+ on everyone, it seems as if they have got a special treatment. Unfair!
We are quite surprised that the Media Authority says that the extinguishing plan does not really apply to the national players, because it is actor-driven. That it will apply entirely to the local actors that are not part of the agreement. This is completely unreasonable. It’s a thing they do in regimes that isn’t democratic at all. Why should the Norwegian government force the local radio stations to do the same as they if they haven’t signed or become part of the extinguishing plan. How can bigger cities versus smaller cities be a thing even? As shown in our questioning round in Oslo. People simply haven’t got a DAB or is interested in the transaction from FM to DAB at all! NRK, P4 and Radio Norge is just doing a suicide for radio as a media. It’s really sad!
How can the Norwegian government force and do things like this to Norwegian local radio stations that deserve to earn money. How can the Norwegian government even think that local radio stations will destroy their DAB transition from FM. These local radio stations got much less listeners to begin with. Norwegian politicians wants Norway to rise from the ashes because of less oil in the future. Then the country needs to support every company doing well and not destroying their income! Especially if the Norwegian government isn’t giving anything to the local radio stations for the transition!
“The reasons for the closure by the authorities have always been that our stations should not hijack listeners from the riksaktörer and thus represent some competition. This premise falls on its own unfairness. P4 translates for NOK 420 million, while Radio Norway for 180 million. Radio Metro translates for 27 million, says Svein Larsen
Let the local radio stations in Norway broadcast as they want. This is a article about Radio Metro case against FM band closure, but it is meant for everyone. What do you think of the DAB+ transaction in Norway? To wipe out FM radio band broadcast that have always worked? Who’s idea was this? Distrita.com follows this for you.