Norway starts tuning out analogue radio in favour of digital

OSLO: Norway began shutting down analogue radio technology Wednesday as the Scandinavian country becomes the first in the world to phase out the FM signal for national and some regional broadcasting.

The FM signal was switched off in the Arctic Nordland district in favor of Digital Audio Broadcasting, or DAB.

The switchover was performed by radio listener Bertih Pauline Olderskog who moved a lever to drum rolls and a countdown from the audience at a public library in Bodoe, northern Norway. Olderskog said she had been listening to FM radio for more than 70 years.

Graham Dixon, head of the European Broadcasting Union's radio unit who took part in the event that was webcasted, said the switchover shows that "media can be renewed for the contemporary world."

The head of the public Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK, Thor Gjermund Eriksen, called it a "historic moment."

Norway gradually switches to digital and the shutdown process is due to be completed by Dec. 13.

The Norwegian government has cited its landscape with deep fjords, high mountains and scattered communities for making it expensive to operate FM networks. Norway's Parliament made the decision in May 2011.

An estimated 200 million kroner ($23.4 million) will be saved, according to official figures.