(SALTEN/BODØ/OSLO): The shutdown was official on 11 January, 11.11 am, 2017, making Norway the first country in the world to fully transition from analogue to digital radio – at least in the county of Nordland.

Throughout 2017, DAB+ will replace the existing country-wide FM band, which will now close down for good.

The first leg of the run started out in Nordland with an official ceremony in Stormen Kulturhus in the centre of Bodø. On several Norkring stations, among them Salten, representatives from Norkring were gathered to witness the shutdown and make sure everything went according to the plan.

– It went very well, just as planned, said Frank Steinar Johansen, Regional Manager in Norkring, right after the shutdown.

Successful shutdown
The actual shutdown took place in Norkring’s control room in Fornebu, where a script was run on a computer. Still, there was a need for manned stations in several parts of Nordland as backup for manual shutdown in the field.

– The transmissions shut down smoothly right after the script ran, but we were ready just in case. Now, we have turned off the power from the transmitters and we are about to dismantle them, says Johansen and adds:

– We have two DAB transmitters running here, they provide the digital signals to the whole region, in addition to a transmitter for local radio channels that will continue to air on FM.

Director Operations Inge Fagerbakke could confirm that everything had gone according to the plan in an enthusiastic email:

– Thumbs up! All DAB stations in Nordland are up and running. The shutdown was a success!

The world’s most extensive DAB network
At the official ceremony in Bodø, CEO of Norkring Torbjørn Teigen, talked about the enormous effort that was put in to make it all happen:

– To build a terrestrial network for radio has been a demanding and exciting task. We have done extensive work on our stations throughout the country, both indoors and outdoors, high and low, in all sorts of weather and conditions, with both snow mobiles and helicopters.

1200 trucks, 170 000 meters of cable, 1100 locations, 60 FTEs and thousands of working hours have been involved in Norkring’s work with getting the Norwegian radio voices out to the public with crystal clear sound on DAB+.

– Now the time has come to take the radio experience into the future with the DAB network, something that will make it possible to develop and give listeners a new everyday experience with the radio medium, said Teigen.

So long FM band
CEO of broadcasting from NRK, Thor Gjermund Eriksen, was also present at the ceremony and was very pleased with the transition to DAB+.

– If we look at radio in Norway in comparison to the rest of the world, we’re almost exceptional. In a media reality with tougher global competition on more platforms than ever, radio is the medium that hits the widest audience and has the most loyal consumers, Eriksen said.

He also got the chance to say so long to the FM band before it was switched off for good:

– Thank you for the long and faithful service, the FM band has made a fantastic effort.