We’ve gotten rid of our five hundred and thousand rupee notes but there is one country that is getting rid of their FM stations. Yes, that country is Norway and it’s making way for a digital platform, so that the users have access to many more stations and not to forget — a clearer sound. The country, by the end of this year, will have no FM and AM channels with the phase-by-phase shut down of FM stations starting this month. Though the majority of Norwegians oppose this decision, countries like UK, Switzerland and Denmark are also considering a similar move.
Now here’s the deal. The listeners who spend time listening to the medium in their cars will be affected, with the FM tuner going obsolete. The way around this problem is to get yourself a Digital Audio Broadcast Receiver for `12,000 approximately, and then you are good to go. What if such a decision was to be made in India at the drop of a hat? Radio professionals and presenters would be queueing up just like we did in front of our ATMs, only this time, in front of an internet radio station!
The concept is interesting and more giving, especially to the listener. You will have the choice of countless radio stations, not only from your country, but also around the world. This will definitely make competition ruthless, and making a mark on the soundscape more difficult. It will surely take another 20 years for this to happen in India. With the huge license fee that radio stations have paid up, a swap to the digital side will not be feasible on any ground, especially when digital consumption of radio in the country is still in its nascent stages, with a majority tuning into their terrestrial regional music station.
So breathe easy as your job in a radio station is secure, for now. When it does get implemented here, who knows, we might just embrace it like how we use our digital wallets today.
See you next week!
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.