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Norway becomes the first country to end nationwide FM radio

This week the Scandinavian country completed the transition from analog to digital radio, becoming the first to shut down FM broadcasts.

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Norway transitioned from analog to digital radio this week, becoming the first country to end nationwide FM broadcasting. 

Digitalradio Norge (DRN)/radio.no

Norway has completed the move from analog to digital radio, making it the first country to shut down national FM radio broadcasts. The transition began in January to allow for better sound quality and more channels. 

The switch officially took place on Wednesday, as noted in a statement from Digitalradio Norge (DRN), an arm of Norway's public and commercial radio. The transition only involves national radio channels, and most local stations will still broadcast on FM.

Norway, which launched the first digital radio station in 1995, currently has 31 national radio channels on the digital audio broadcasting system (DAB). Digital radio is popular in many European countries, with at least 40 other countries using the technology to some extent. 

Only 49 percent of Norwegian motorists are currently able to listen to DAB in their cars, however, according to DRN. Preparing for the change, Norwegians have bought 620,000 DAB radios since mid-September. 

DAB functions at an eighth of the transmitting cost of traditional FM radio, according to The Local. Other European countries, including Switzerland, Britain and Denmark plan to follow suit and abandon FM in the coming years.