For some radio listeners in Norway, there will be dead air starting today. The mountainous nation of 5 million will become the first in the world to phase out analog signals in favor of Digital Audio Broadcasting, or DAB.
The move has provoked concern for the elderly and motorists, while others will be nostalgic for the crackling sound of old radio.
Judith Haaland, 98, remembers the radio broadcasts from London during World War II and Norway’s king stiffening the resolve of his countrymen under German occupation. Now blind and living alone, her radio has been her tether to the outside world.
In a move likely to be watched closely by other nations, the Norwegian government will begin shutting off the FM signal today. By the end of the year, national networks will be available only on DAB.
Switzerland and Britain are both considering a switch to digital networks.
Norway claims the move will free up cash for broadcasters to invest in programing, while providing a clearer and more reliable network that can better cut through the country’s sparsely populated rocky terrain. AP