|Publicly funded, public-service broadcaster|
|Founded||1 July 1933|
|Thor Gjermund Eriksen|
|Products||TV, radio, online services|
|Owner||Government of Norway|
Number of employees
|3,419; 266 temporary staff (2017)|
NRK (an abbreviation of the Norwegian: Norsk rikskringkasting AS, generally expressed in English as the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) is the Norwegian government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company, and the largest media organisation in Norway. NRK broadcasts three national TV channels and three national radio channels on digital terrestrial television, digital terrestrial radio and subscription television. All NRK radio stations are being streamed online at NRK.no, which also offers an extensive TV service. NRK is a founding member of the European Broadcasting Union.
94% of NRK's funding comes from a mandatory annual licence fee payable by anyone who owns or uses a TV or device capable of receiving TV broadcasts. The remainder comes from commercial activities such as programme and DVD sales, spin-off products and certain types of sponsorship. NRK's license income in 2012 was more than 5 billion kroner. In the autumn of 2015 the government announced that it planned to change the way NRK is financed. This is in part a reaction to the decline of TV ownership in Norway. Some kind of "media charge" is planned, but it is not yet clear how such a system would work. The feeling is that the current license system is not sustainable in the long term.
Kringkastningselskapet, a privately owned company and the predecessor of NRK, started regular radio broadcasts in Norway in 1925. NRK itself was founded in 1933. Based on a model similar to that of the BBC and located in Oslo, it was a replacement for privately operated radio stations in larger cities. NRK initially set out to cover the entire country and had a monopoly on broadcasting in Norway. The monopoly was gradually dissolved from 1975 onwards, resulting in the introduction of cable TV in 1982, regional TV channels and satellite TV in 1986 (culminating in the launch of TV3 in 1987 and TVNorge in 1988) and the launch of the second free-to-air channel TV 2 in 1992.
During the Nazi German occupation, Norwegian transmitters were used to broadcast Nazi German war propaganda to Northern Europe (particularly Scotland and the northern half of Ireland, where the sea path ensured a good signal) and Scandinavia.
Prior to the Nazi German occupation, NRK had also been partly financed by radio commercials.
NRK was one of 23 founding broadcasting organisations of the European Broadcasting Union, which was founded in 1950. In 1954, NRK started broadcasting television shows, on a trial basis. Regular broadcasts started in 1960.
NRK was the last of the major European public broadcasters to introduce a second radio station, officially starting as late as 1984. In 1993 NRK launched a third radio station, the youth-oriented P3. A 24-hour station for classical music, Alltid Klassisk (now called "NRK Klassisk"), introduced in 1995, was the first of its kind to be broadcast digitally using DAB. The 24-hour news station Alltid Nyheter started in 1997, followed by a radio station for teenagers, mP3, in 2000, which mostly plays dance music.
In 1996, a second television channel, NRK2, was launched. The original television channel is now known as NRK1. On 3 September 2007 NRK launched its third channel: a youth channel called NRK3. Later that year, on 1 December, NRK launched its fourth television channel, NRK Super, which is aimed at children. NRK3 and NRK Super share the same channel, with NRK Super broadcasting from 06:00 to 19:30 and NRK3 from 19:30 to 06:00.
In 1999, following NRK Interaktiv's relaunch as NRK.no, NRK introduced a new corporate logo which similar to its predecessor. The new corporate logo made its first appearance in an ident in 2000 by making its overhaul to NRK's radio and television channels.
A traditional music radio station, NRK Alltid folkemusikk (now known as "NRK Folkemusikk") was launched in 2004 on DAB and internet radio.
NRK's international radio transmissions, known as Utenlandssendingen, began shortwave transmission in 1948. Initially broadcasting in Norwegian, English-language programs were added later. The service was discontinued on 1 January 2002. All NRK broadcasting activities on shortwave ceased on 1 January 2004. NRK's mediumwave transmitter at Kvitsøy on 1314 kHz used to be widely heard internationally and was one of the most commonly heard trans-Atlantic DX signals in eastern North America. The frequency carried a mixture of NRK's radio channels P1 and P2, and was called Europakanalen (literally "The Europe Channel"). However, these mediumwave transmissions were discontinued on 1 July 2006.
On 16 April 2015, the Norwegian Ministry of Culture announced its intention to eventually switch off all FM transmitters in the country, with the first such transmitter expected to be switched off on 11 January 2017, therefore making Norway the first country in the world to completely transition to digital radio. According to the Ministry of Culture, the decision was justified because transmitting through the FM network was 8 times more expensive than transmitting through DAB, and also because there are only 5 national radio stations transmitting on FM, compared to the 42 digital radio stations allocated in Norway, with 22 stations transmitting on the latter. NRK Radio is expected to transition from FM to digital radio before commercial radio stations do likewise.
NRK Television still holds the strongest position in number of viewers, though the competition from TV 2 is getting tougher.
NRK claims to have the longest running radio show, Lørdagsbarnetimen (lit. The Saturday Children's Hour), running since 20 December 1924.
In recent years, the network has shown itself to be the leading producer of original comedy shows in Norway, with such notable successes as Lille Lørdag, Åpen Post, Uti vår hage and Team Antonsen, centered on the comedians Harald Eia and Bård Tufte Johansen.
The CEO began major organisational changes in 2008, with the aim of creating a more agile NRK, while still adhering to the principles of the broadcaster-producer model introduced in January 2001. By January 2009 the number of programme-producing divisions had been reduced from five to three, separated more along geographical than functional lines, and at the same time simplifying trading in the internal market. The programme producing divisions are:
Thor Gjermund Eriksen has been Director-General of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation since 12 March 2013. The previous directors were Olav Midttun (1934-1947, except during the Nazi occupation), Kaare Fostervoll (1948-1962), Hans Jacob Ustvedt (1962-1971), Torolf Elster (1972-1981), Bjartmar Gjerde (1981-1988), Einar Førde (1989-2001), John G. Bernander (2001-2007) and Hans-Tore Bjerkaas (2007-2012)
The chairman of the board is Birger Magnus, Marius Lillelien heads the broadcasting department, and the head of the news department is Marius Tetlie. In 2017, NRK employed 3 419 and 266 temporary staff.
NRK has 12 regional offices around Norway. Each office has its own broadcasts on both television (on NRK 1) and radio (on NRK P1), as well their own news sites on the internet. They also contribute news coverage to national news programmes. NRK's headquarters are at Marienlyst in Oslo and Tyholt in Trondheim.
Norway was the first country to announce a complete switch-off of national FM radio stations, including NRK P1 with regional services, NRK P2 and NRK P3, NRK mP3 and NRK Alltid Nyheter. Switch off started on 11 January 2017, and ended on 13 December 2017.
NRK has an HD outside broadcast van, producing high-definition video. The first Norwegian series filmed in HD was En Udødelig Mann ("An Immortal Man") about the young Henrik Ibsen. The action six-part miniseries called Kodenavn Hunter was also filmed in HD. Promotional videos are freely downloadable from NRK's site, and the full-length last episode is available.
In preparation for the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, NRK announced that they would launch a high-definition channel, and their first native HD broadcast would be from Vancouver. NRK1 HD is a simulcast of NRK1.
Its website, nrk.no, has had an online presence supporting its TV and radio programmes and web-only initiatives since 1996. Its development had started in 1995. It is the second most-visited Norwegian website, surpassed only by the website of the country's leading tabloid, Verdens Gang.