The Norwegian Local Broadcasting Federation strongly responds to the proposal to propose an advertising ban for niche radios in the big cities. This may simply threaten their existence, the union believes.

The play comes in connection with the Cultural Committee of the Stortinget (the place where everything is rolled out in the Norwegian government), soon to give its recommendation regarding the extension of the local radio FM concessions. It has long been clear that there is a political majority to extend the licenses by five years to the 31st of December 2026.

The discussion has been about the introduction of stricter rules and restrictions for local radio in the big cities, where commercial local radio was banned in connection with the national radio ceasing to broadcast on FM in 2017.

Norwegian Local Radio Association is trying to fight against the Norwegian Government

In principle, the Norwegian Local Radio Association (NLR) opposes the fact that the authorities, through framework conditions, regulate media in terms of content, revenue requirements, distribution platform or collaboration, for example by sending or forwarding. The industry must find its own forms of cooperation and alliances that can strengthen the players under prevailing conditions, writes the Local Radio Association in a statement to the Storting’s cultural committee

As an industry association, we therefore also strongly disagree with both the current ban on commercial radio operation in the four largest cities and the recommendation on advertising bans for niche radio in the coming licensing period.

Regarding the proposed advertising ban, the Norwegian Local Radio Association has investigated how the niche radios are left in the big cities. The conclusion is that the niche radios already have a weak and downward economy today, and a large majority signal that an advertising ban will result in a reduction in operations or, ultimately, closure. A simple calculation shows that a niche radio in Oslo will spend 1.5 million Norwegian kroner a year. Thus, the current commercial sales ceiling of NOK 150,000 is already struggling.

Local radio diversity in Norway will be gone with such ban that is proposed

The number of niche radios in the four largest cities has been significantly reduced since 2016. NLR believes that there is a real danger that the local radio diversity in the big cities will be decimated and at risk of disappearing altogether if a ban on commercial income is passed. We therefore ask that the Committee protect the smallest radios and their very important contribution in Norwegian media flora. This can only be done through a remark that ensures that the radios have a framework that provides the basis for a sustainable economy even after 2021, writes the board of the Norwegian Local Radio Association.

Norwegian Broadcasting Association’s proposal for comment

“The committee is against an advertising ban. The Committee asks the government to draw up a local radio regulations
FM so that niche radios in big cities have a viable economy, even after 2021 ».