End of an era for children’s radio

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NRK Radio’s long-running Barnetimen (“The children’ hour”) looks set to be taken off the air. Barnetimen, which made its debut in 1924, is believed to be the oldest radio program in the world that’s still being broadcast.

The weekly, Saturday afternoon program has been an institution in Norway and perhaps is best known for its catchy jingle (“Nå kommer barnetimen…”), which most Norwegian adults can sing by heart. Many recall being handed a bowl of risgrøt (rice porridge) on Saturday afternoons, settling down near the radio and tuning in.

NRK officials, though, have reason to believe that today’s children just don’t seem inclined to sit still and listen to radio programs anymore.

A recent survey conducted by TNS Gallup showed that only 7 percent of children aged three to 11 had tuned into Barnetimen during a given month. None listened to Barnetimen every Saturday and only 1 percent listened to the daily version for young children, Barnetimen for de minste.

“I think that most people who have children know that getting them to sit near a radio at a certain time of the day and listen to a story that may extend over several days belongs to another era,” Marius Lillelien, radio chief for NRK, told news bureau NTB.

He said the state broadcaster will thus “be evaluating the future” for Barnetimen “as we know it today.” He said a new children’s program on NRK may well be also called Barnetimen in the future, “but its contents will change, that’s simply necessary.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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