This has been an historic day in Norway. The event wasn’t one that got big international headlines, and it shouldn’t when there’s an adequate amount of drama and melodrama in international politics at the moment. The death of FM started today. The old radio network was shut down in Nordland county and by next Christmas the old radios will play nothing but white noise in all the 19 counties.
This will give us better sound quality and prevent bad reception, but there is a price to pay. I read a story a few days ago about a woman that accidentally broke her radio. She was moving her laptop to the passenger seat and accidentally hit the screen of her GPS/radio. Her Nissan dealer claimed that they couldn’t replace just the broken screen, and estimated that the job would cost NOK 84 000 ($ 9 900). Her insurance company found a car-stereo dealer that did the job for NOK 10 000 (about $ 1 170).
Cars don’t come with DAB as standard, but most dealers install it before they sell the car. That will add NOK 3000-4000 per car, and as Norwegians bought 154 000 new cars last year, this means an annual investment of up to NOK 600 million. I’m all in favour of technology, but I question it when it’s not that obvious that it will reduce the costs. So far this seems to benefit the manufacturers and the car dealers.
I guess this is progress, and I am probably going to forget about the past as quickly as I did with my first android phone, but it is a little sad to see another part of the old world, the one I grew up in, vanish. I was never a cool teenager. I coveted the Sony Walkman, Discman and the later iPod Shuffle, but I never had the money for it. I eventually got hold of an old record player (LP), but radio was my favourite entertainment for a long time. I loved sitting in my bedroom listening, and if I switched to AM I could get BBC. The sound quality wasn’t exactly perfect, but during a time when there was no alternative to the old-fashioned state broadcasting corporation, apart from some rather hopeless local amateurs, hearing German and English was a novelty. Liverpool FC with big 80’s stars like Kenny Dalgliesh and Ian Rush never played better than on Saturday afternoons when I listened to a crackling radio.
FM will shut down in September in my county. It won’t have any consequences for me as I will continue with Spotify and Itunes, but I can’t help wondering if it might be useful to keep some of the old technology.
I wrote about this last summer too in Government pushers.