Say Goodbye To FM Radio

Photo: Future/REX Shutterstock.
Beginning in 2017, Norway will become the first country to stop FM radio broadcasts. Instead, the country will stick with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), which offers a wider variety of channels and better audio quality than FM transmissions. Norwegians who've been squirreling away an old boombox: Your last reason to hold onto it just got nixed. It looks like Internet's slowly killing the FM radio star. Ditching FM radio makes sense for Norway for two reasons: The already-ubiquitous availability of digital radio broadcasts in the country, and the popularity of Internet music-streaming services. In Norway, digital broadcast coverage is already more widespread than FM; there are 22 stations available over digital, compared with only five stations that transmit nationwide over the FM standard. Thor Gjermund Eriksen, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation chief, says that this switch will let the company "concentrate [its] resources even more upon what is most important, namely to create high-quality and diverse radio content to our listeners." Sounds good to us.  Things are a little different in the U.S., where roughly half the population now regularly listens to Internet radio services such as Spotify, Rdio, or Pandora. Internet radio hasn't replaced traditional radio here, however: 90% of Americans still listen to AM and FM broadcasts. The U.S. also offers digital radio transmissions, but we call it "HD radio." Although your 30-year-old Walkman won't let you listen in HD, it can still receive AM and FM radio broadcasts. And, if you're looking for digital stations to listen to, click here. FM radio technology first began gaining popularity in the 1930s and overtook AM as the most popular broadcast type in the 1970s. It's unclear how soon in the future the U.S. might cease FM radio transmissions the way Norway has, considering how popular old-school radio still is here. After all, with even millennials spending an average of 11.5 hours per week listening to the radio, we've certainly earned those NPR tote bags — and tattoos

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