FM switch off (in Norway)

Or said another way; if FM radio broadcast had been continued, what would be the resultant listening figures? Impossible to know. It would be helpful to see the long-term listening trends to FM radio in Norway prior to the switch off. While a 10% decrease might seem significant, from a statistical standpoint you'd have to have a measure of variation to make a determination. So it could be nothing, plus listenership may increase in time as more folks buy the requisite gear.

DAB simply is inferior to FM, reception worse in fringe areas or if mobile, and requiring radios that are more expensive and with greater battery drainage. It is only to be expected that they lose listeners after switching off FM, just surprising it is as little as 10% - though of course it depends how they monitor listening figures. It would be more interesting to know how the composition of the 10%, geographically and demographically.

I highly doubt FM radio has anything like 10% audiophiles in it's listenership who can tell the difference in quality. More like we make up 0.01%.

More likely a combination of natural downward trend as radio competes with other devices; attrition of some users just not replacing their radios; and (to put it bluntly) an aging population of radio listeners dying off each year.

Innocent Bystander posted:

DAB simply is inferior to FM, reception worse in fringe areas or if mobile, and requiring radios that are more expensive and with greater battery drainage. It is only to be expected that they lose listeners after switching off FM, just surprising it is as little as 10% - though of course it depends how they monitor listening figures. It would be more interesting to know how the composition of the 10%, geographically and demographically.

I remember many years ago (20+) when DAB was being introduced and we were told that it would be so much better than FM, especially for cars.  I was suckered into buying one for my car.  It was rubbish.

Think yourself lucky Beachcomber. I bought an Arcam FMJ DT26 DAB tuner (the Arcam 10 in a shiny suit effectively) when the CD-quality line was still being pushed by the BBC before the big DAB relaunch, which pushed choice over quality. When would that be? About 2002 maybe... Sold it not long after. As well as not being v good, the long-promised 5Live Sports Extra was a once in a blue moon experience limited to an occasional run-out for the trailer that was played on a loop.

I don't think I'd mind FM being switched off now. All casual radio listening is DAB in the kitchen & the car; for listening through the stereo it's streaming all the way now.

I have found DAB fairly good but we are lucky that we are in an area of decent coverage. I first got a DAB tuner in 2001 and kept it for 14 years until I replaced that system with my Superuniti. The SU gets DAB well on a small table top aerial but won't receive FM through that. The reason that DAB quality is not as good as it should be is that  they have crammed too many stations into the multiplexes, not allowing enough bandwidth for each. I believe that the typical bandwidth is 80KBPS. DAB coverage for cars is OK now but it was rubbish even a few years ago. The future is Internet radio.

In the early days BBC Radios 1-4 were each at 192k, 5L and World service 96k mono. That used up virtually all of single mux's capacity; when 5LSX was on R4 dropped to mono. Once it was decided to go for quantity over quality 128k (192 for R3 still)  was deemed adequate to make space for 6M, 1Xtra and BBC7. Tbh in the car it's fine, and I like 6M.

DAB coverage was initially designed to cover larger conurbations and major transport routes, and is still catching up with the FM network. AFAIK there isn't much more planned expansion in the pipeline.

Well David, its not just the UK, the 87.5 to 108 Mhz spectrum is reserved by the United Nations and reflected in the European CEPT regulations (nothing to do with the EU by the way) for FM Sound Broadcasting and Wireless Audio Applications... so that is what its reserved for globally - assuming one is a member of the UN. 

Directly below that spectrum there is radio mobile and radio fixed usage for defence and PMR applications  and directly above is the busy international AM Aeronautical navigation and communication spectrum.    https://www.fmv.se/Global/Verksamhet/Frekvensförvaltning/REF%205_1_%20ECC%20Frekvensplan_ERCREP025_110621.pdf

I am sure if they could the global Aeronautical industry and government associations would love to have that spectrum - but would require a global change through UN to administer - and I cant see that happening given the huge global adoption of that band for FM sound broadcasting.

 

Well Simon I know quite a bit about this actually. If you google my name and radiocommunications (as one word), you will see why....(ignoring the stuff about snooker which is some other guy).

The UK can do whatever it likes, regardless of CEPT or ITU or any other regulations, providing that it doesn't interfere with the agreed use by other member states. (Members of whatever agreement group - this is nothing to do with the EU, which is barely relevant in radio spectrum terms, whatever the EU Commission might like to think.)

My point is that because the band 88-108 MHz has no commercial value, the Government doesn't get any significant benefit from selling it. So it's all about whether the BBC is happy to simulcast on FM and DAB. It seems the BBC have decided that they are happy.

I heard a brief headline on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning that radio listening on digital platforms in the U.K. has now reached (or passed?) 50% and that the government would again consider FM switch off.

I was, of course, listening on FM. 

The last Qtr RAJAR data is published today, & we will see the 50% actual numbers,   I'll post my usual bottom line summary as normal later.       I'm not totally convinced UK.Gov will not go against BBC suggestion,  the cost of simulcast incl network maintenance/replacement is the main driver as I understand it. That said the BBC proposal makes a lot of sense - to extend the life of FM for longer - so its up to BBC to support the network & transmission providers on on that.

Clive B posted:

I heard a brief headline on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning that radio listening on digital platforms in the U.K. has now reached (or passed?) 50% and that the government would again consider FM switch off.

I was, of course, listening on FM. 

I heard BBC reporter David Sillitoe talking about FM say, "for many it remains the best" at the end of the 8 o'clock news. Hopefully the alleged opinion formers listening will have taken note.

FM switch off is really not on the immediate radar for the US, a country with a population similar to Western Europe. Samsung recently included an analog FM radio listening app for their US phones. Apple has been contemplating it. While many major FM broadcasters in the US have gone digital, it represents only a fifth of the current market. Although it's against a mandatory analog switch off, the US Federal Communications Commission believes radio stations will increasingly switch over to digital voluntarily.

FWIW - the analog TV broadcast band has been switched off in the US. 

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