The Swiss End of FM Broadcasting

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Within the next year FM broadcasting will come to an end in Switzerland in 2024 and people with old cars are sad. So are people who want to hold on to FM for nostalgic reasons. For hobbyists it’s a shame too, because then all FM radio equipment will become obsolete as we will no longer have content available, for people to listen to.

We Have Already Shifted

Having said this, it has already been replaced by Internet radio in people’s homes, and DAB+ in cars, and by people who switched to digital. The advantage of DAB+ and DVB-T2 is that you get many more programs thanks to a smaller antenna.

DAB is Cheap

A DAB+ receiver is affordable. You can get one for 30-40 CHF and it will last for years. Mine is already several years old. My hope, when I got a DAB+ radio was to find more documentaries and features. When I saw that DAB+ was the same music content as on normal radio I lost interest.

Recently I tried again and I found France Info and France Culture. I like France Culture for the documentaries that I usually listen to as podcasts.

FM Transmitters for Cars

Some old cars are not equipped with DAB+ radios but in theory those cars, if they’re not classic cars will soon be off the roads, as we switch to eletric rather than thermal engines.

Years ago I used the audio input to send audio from a phone to the car stereo. I also used small portable FM transmitters. When FM transmission comes to an end it will be easy to find an FM transmitter, from which to send the signal from one device, to a car, for example. It’s what I did a decade ago.

The FM transmitter choice for cars is large.For a long time I had an audio cable permanently plugged in and ready for use via the AUX audio input for the phone.

Digital Control

We might be nostalgic for searching for radio stations manually but most are self-tuning, and they’re tuned digitally. Press + or - and you will get to the frequency of the radio station you want to get to. In modern car radios you see the display with the radio stations that have been found, so the user experience is the same for DAB+ and FM.

Podcasts, Audiobooks and Music Streaming

I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks when I drive, rather than radio. For a while I listened to music streaming services, rather than radio, to avoid the adverts.

And Finally

The main comment we see is that FM is being phased out because few people still use it and that it is expensive to run. In the current era we have plenty of ways to get audio content, whether as podcasts, DAB+, streaming and more.

I don’t think I will miss FM.