Norway is phasing out FM broadcasting in favour of DAB radio, citing lower costs and a wider range of broadcasting options. It will be the first country to do so, and the switch is estimated to save Norway SGD36 million per year. On top of that, the freed FM bandwidth will be open for bidding, and can potentially result in even more savings!
DAB radio offers better sound quality, and a bigger choice of radio programmes than FM. You can also get text information on screen like the song’s title, the artiste’s name, the presenter’s name and advertising information. It is indeed a more wholesome way of enjoying radio. But if DAB is so great, why did Singapore give it up in 2011, having banked on it for 13 years?
Despite its benefits, mass adoption in Singapore was a big problem. Before smartphones and Apps, Singaporeans preferred to rely on FM radio. simply because getting into DAB usually meant spending money for new equipment – like receivers or boxes. And many cars were still equipped with FM receivers only. After the iPhone, Singaporeans could find their favourite radio stations offered in Apps, which offered rich information and better audio quality than FM, anyway.
Years ago when I was selling audio equipment in a shop, customers were aware of DAB, but most won’t even consider paying for it. It didn’t make a difference whether the product had FM or DAB; they simply wanted to know how they can enjoy their favourite streaming apps on it, like Spotify and TuneIn Radio!
So by 2011, MediaCorp felt that DAB was not worth the resources it was pouring in, and dropped DAB. Instead, it offered most radio channels through the MeRadio App and FM. Most Singaporeans didn’t know, and frankly if they did, I don’t think anyone cared.
Who knows? Perhaps they might bring it back in future, when Singaporeans are more receptive to it.
So do you think Norway should keep FM radio instead of phasing it out for good? We want to know what you think, tell us in the comments section below!