A total of 17 of the 37 Norwegian local radio districts are still without a developer of DAB networks.
This means that half of the country could be without local radio when the FM network is terminated next year, according to the newspaper Vårt Land.
The newspaper has talked with several people who operates local radio stations, and several of those people share the same concerns: Geographical limitations and economical considerations means that it is unlikely that they will get a working DAB networks in their district.
– Here in western Norway has taken a long time to get good coverage on FM. I do not think it is likely that there will be developed a DAB network that would be able compete with that. Such a development would be too expensive for that to happen, managing director Ragnhild Kristine Vartdal Espelund in Radio Sunnmøre says.
Players in the local radio market has only shown interest in developing a DAB network in 20 of the country’s 37 local radio districts. JærRadioGruppen has been granted a license for the largest number of districts, with its five regions.
– We have applied for and received a license for the regions in which we have ownership interests in local radio on FM today. We have sought to ensure that these will survive transition to DAB. There are major challenges related to the development of a DAB network in districts such Sunnmøre, Aslak Skretting in JærRadioGruppen says.
Lars Erik Krogsrud of the Media Supervision says they have announced a new round of applications for licenses, with a deadline of May 9th. If there then are still regions that are without concessionaires, they will accept continuous applications for licenses for development of DAB networks in those regions, until those regions have found concessionaires who have had their licences granted.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today