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Switzerland announces timeline to end FM broadcasts by 2024

Switzerland is the latest nation planning to cease FM broadcasting. According to a missive from the country’s Federal Office of Communications, radio stations will no longer be available on FM wavelengths after 2024. Any FM radio licenses that expire in December 2019 will be extended through the end of 2024, with the option to take a shorter period. OFCOM said it will explore whether to allow an exemption for individual FM transmitters to remain past 2024 for a limited time in regions with less complete DAB+ coverage.

The Digital Migration Working Group set 2024 as the latest date for phasing out FM broadcasts back in December 2014. Since then, digital radio has been growing in Switzerland. Two-thirds of the country’s radio use is already digital, reaching 65% in spring 2019. DAB+ sets and FM radio had the same shares with 35%.

Norway was the first country to transition from FM radio broadcasting almost completely to digital. It officially began the process in January 2017.

Anna Washenko

4 Comments

  1. DAM broadcasting seems to be more energy efficient too; DAB multiplexes mean multiple channels on one transmitter; vs FM which requires a power-hungry transmitter for each channel. This kind of tech (DAB) however will never fly in the US as the big radio corporations want to own their own transmitters (which seems silly these days).

    • I’m not sure the big radio companies will fight this. They seem to be preparing for it buying. iHeart is completely ready, and with radio.com and tunein.com companies like Cumulus and Entercom are getting prepared. It will take longer here [almost all technology does….sad when you think we used to be leading the way], but leasing space on big sticks is expensive, and AMs are shutting down as the stick sites that used to be out in the sticks are now in prime real estate territory. If I’m iHeart and instead of having 400 local stations all running the same syndicated shows and paying tons of studio space and transmitter bills to do so, why wouldn’t I want one digital station where I can be selling now unimaginable CPMs with very little overhead? Eventually I sell off the stations and pepper all the syndication with ads for my digital platform. Oh, wait. Except for selling things off, that’s what they’re already doing. What this does tell me is if I buy a radio station and think it has a long term future, I’m the same guy who bought an Oldsmobile dealership in 2003.

  2. We won’t see this here. Not because the technology doesn’t exist…or even work. Streaming is the audio delivery system today – and while music rights can be expensive, no more so than transmitters, power bills, spare parts, FCC fees, etc. Radio is online . Anywhere. Anytime.

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