The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Federal Council extends FM radio licenses for the last time

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 26 October 2023

The Federal Council has extended the FM radio licenses for the radio industry one last time until the end of 2026. After that, radio programs can no longer be broadcast via FM and only digitally. Originally, FM was to be switched off by the end of 2024.

Federal Council extends FM radio licenses for the last time
Image by Benjamin Hartwich from Pixabay

With the last extension, the radio industry receives the desired flexibility to successfully complete the migration process from analog to digital radio, as the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) announced on Wednesday.

By amending the Ordinance on the Use of the Radio Frequency Spectrum (VNF), the Federal Council is allowing existing FM radio licenses to remain valid beyond their current expiration date until the end of 2026, it added.

Radio broadcasters can also stop analog radio broadcasting earlier. For more than ten years, the radio industry and Bakom have been preparing for the final switch-off of FM in Switzerland. As early as 2020, there is no longer any obligation to broadcast radio programs via FM.

Radio use is already predominantly digital (DAB+ and Internet). In spring 2023, the share of digital radio use was 81 percent. FM use has fallen to 19 percent. At home and at work, more than 80 percent of usage is via digital channels; in the car, the share is two-thirds. Only 8 percent of the audience still listens to the radio exclusively via FM.

Against the planned discontinuation of FM radio stations in Switzerland, radio entrepreneur and presenter Roger Schawinski had submitted a petition with over 60,000 signatures in July 2021. The petition demanded that the planned discontinuation of all FM stations be reversed. A premature shutdown of all FM transmitters would violate the freedom of reception guaranteed in the Radio and Television Act, Schawinski stated at the time.

©Keystone/SDA

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