Stortinget ( the Norwegian Parliament) will in a few weeks decide the future of FM i Norway. National broadcasters shut down their FM transmitters last year but local radio outside the big cities were allowed to broadcast on FM until 2021.
Senterpartiet, an opposition party, has delivered a proposal for local FM licences to be extended until 2031, a ten year extension of today`s licences.
Åslaug Sem-Jacobsen (Sp) is fronting this proposal and says that it is important to safeguard the survival of local radio, for reasons of media diversity and national preparedness.
It has been proved almost impossible for smaller local stations to be part of the digital switchover, even with heavy subsidies from the government. Many, including Sem-Jacobsen fears that the small stations will not survive unless they can use FM in the future.
The digital switchover has so far been a sad affair for the national stations, which have lost more than 15 % of their listeners compared to 2016, according to PPM-numbers from Kantar TNS. Local radio on FM has doubled og tripled their listening in some places.
There is also a discussion about national preparedness, as many people still have not bought a DAB-radio and just under half of all cars have DAB. FM might therefore be the only way to communicate with them in a crisis situation, which in Sem-Jacobsen`s view is another reason to extend the FM licences
The proposal is beeing discussed in the Cultural Committee in the Parliament ( Familie og Kulturkomiteen på Stortinget ).
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