The last time we had a major shift in our technology standards, people couldn’t figure out if their television would work without a tiny little box or not. The transfer from OTA broadcasting to digital transmissions was worth it in the end, but the confusion surrounding what to do was hard to ignore. And now we might be on the verge of another big change with Norway leading the way despite some complaints.
FM broadcasting which found its start in 1933 and would become the go-to format for musical radio over the coming decades might now be facing the end. This shouldn’t be surprising given the rise of streaming, satellite radio, and personal audio over the past years, but now there’s some spotlight on the end of FM thanks to decisions by a few nations around the globe to move on from the long-running format according to The Washington Post:
A number of countries have suggested they might also shut down FM at some point soon. Switzerland, for example, has set a date of 2020 for a switch from FM to AM. “Many countries are now looking to Norway to learn,” Ole Jorgen Torvmark, head of a project called Digital Radio Norway being run by national broadcasters to aid the transition, said when the 2017 shutdown was first announced in 2015…
Estimating that the cost of FM was eight times higher than digital, Norway’s government argued that the savings could be spent on improving radio content. “Radio digitization will open the door to a far greater range of radio channels, benefiting listeners across the country,” then-Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey said in a statement in 2015. “Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality.”