27.08.2021 - RADIONYTT.NO - Kyrre Dahl
Graphics: Pål Lomeland
Most parties in Stortinget (the Norwegian Parliament) are skeptical or clearly against a ban on advertising for local radio on FM in the big cities. It emerges in a survey by the Norwegian Local Radio Association. Of the eight parties, three are clearly against an advertising ban, three are skeptical of the proposal, while two parties seem to support it.
The background for the unique proposal is that national radio stations switched off their transmitters on FM in 2017. Local radio stations were allowed to continue on FM, but in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger all licencees are subject to strict conditions.
The restrictions were put in place to make sure that no normal commercial radio stations would be using FM in the larger cities, to protect the national operators NRK, P4-gruppen and Bauer Media. But those remaining were allowed to sell radio commercials for up to NOK 135 000 ( less than 13 000 pounds ) a year.
This has made it possible for some community stations to stay on air in Oslo and other larger cities. But now the ministry wants an outright ban on any income from commercials. Their argument is that some operators are "cheating", e.g. selling commercials through a different company not directly connected to the licencee.
This is hard to follow up and prove and the proposed solution is a new ban on ads on FM local radio in the big cities of Norway. The proposal is now under review. Several community stations has criticised the move and said they will have no other choice than to close if this goes through the parliament.
Of the eight parties that have answered the questions from the Norwegian Local Radio Association, FrP, SV and Senterpartiet (the Center Party) are the ones who are most clearly against the proposal for an advertising ban, and the one who speaks most strongly is Himanshu Gulati from FrP:
"Such a proposal is completely meaningless, and is reminiscent of regimes in the former Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union," Gulati said.
Åslaug Sem-Jacobsen from the Center Party is also clearly against such a ban:
- Do not really understand that we can have it. It is as if we were to ban various local newspapers and trade magazines from publishing their publications on paper in the big cities, says Sem-Jacobsen.