Switzerland will switch off FM end 2024
Swiss radio broadcasters have decided to shut down FM as originally planned on 31 December 2024, according to a press release published by Digimig, the Swiss broadcaster working group on digital migration. On the same date, FM radio licences expire. From that date onwards, radio programmes will no longer be broadcast via FM. With the return to the original switch-off date, consumers have more time to switch technology.
In 2014, Swiss radio broadcasters agreed to stop broadcasting on FM by 2024 at the latest. At the end of 2020, almost three quarters of radio listening was digital, and the radio industry decided that an early and staggered shutdown of the FM stations in August 2022 (SRG) and in January 2023 (private radio) would be responsible. 42 out of 44 of Switzerland's radio broadcasters and the public broadcaster SRG agreed on this.
In the past few weeks, Switzerland has held a public debate on FM switch off. In the German-speaking and Italian speaking regions of Switzerland, the vast majority of radio broadcasters remain in favour of the early shutdown of VHF, however not in French-speaking Switzerland. Since a nationwide solution is needed, radio broadcasters have therefore returned to their original plan of switching off the FM stations by 31 December 2024.
In addition, the latest market figures indicate that listeners need more time for the switchover. By reverting to the original date for FM switch off, consumers, including those driving a car, will have more time to switch technology. Since 2020 almost 100 percent of new vehicles are supplied with DAB+ as standard, in line with EU legislation. There is a particular need for retrofitting in older cars that do not have any reception options via DAB+ or other digital channels. DAB+ retrofit receivers are available on the market at various price points.
The radio industry is aware that there is no future for FM after 2024. The existing FM licences will expire at the end of 2024, and beyond that point, FM radio can no longer be broadcast in Switzerland.
Digimig notes that the framework conditions for DAB+ will have further improved by the end of 2024. The digitalisation of radio will continue to increase until the switch-off date, there will be even more devices on the market, and the retrofitting of cars will make further progress.
Digimig noted further that the postponement of FM switch-off to the originally planned date of 31 December 2024 is associated with costs in the tens of millions for radio broadcasters, remarking that no radio broadcaster can afford to broadcast programmes twice over both FM and DAB+ in the long term, and furthermore, it also makes little sense from an ecological point of view.
- OFCOM Switzerland WorldDAB Member