Radio industry celebrates one year of digital

6 August 2010

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The radio industry celebrates one year of digital radio on air at full power in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth today, with the latest data showing there are 523,000* people listening to digital radio in an average week and three times the predicted number of digital radios in the market at nearly 150,000**.

This time last year, Australian commercial and public radio broadcasters put competition aside and more than 40 different radio stations held a simultaneous breakfast outside broadcast in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide to promote digital radio.

In the following 12 months, sales of digital radios have steadily increased and up to 18 new digital only stations are on air in each market.

Joan Warner, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) said: “The industry continues to work together to promote digital radio with advertising on air and by launching fresh new  digital only content which should encourage listeners to try digital radio.”  

“The new digital only stations have opened up a raft of new opportunities for the development of new Australian on air radio talent as well as providing more broadcast opportunities for Australian musicians and comedians.”

Broadcasters have invested more than $50 million dollars on the DAB+ infrastructure and in excess of $24m in on air promotion.  CRA has revamped the website to make it easier for listeners to navigate the site and see clearly the digital only content in their particular state.

There are 60 DAB+ digital radio models available for sale from 20 different manufacturers and strong support from the retail sector with digital radios stocked in more than 650 retail stores.

Gerry Harvey co-founder of Australia’s leading retailer Harvey Norman said: “Digital radio is proving to be a growing category for us.  The range of digital radios on the market continues to increase with the larger electronic manufacturers entering the market and creating a stand alone category in our stores offering listeners a wide choice in price and functionality.”

“Digital radio has certainly shaken up the audio market.   We’re one of the top advertisers on radio and very pleased to see the industry supporting the new technology. I see that the radio industry is putting its money where its mouth is and committing lots of airtime to the promotion of digital radio. The category will grow even more when the Government gives the green light to make it available throughout Australia,” said Mr Harvey.

Commercial radio broadcasters and SBS recently switched on a DAB+ trial in Canberra and a further trial in Darwin will start shortly.  The industry is calling on the Federal Government to commit to the allocation of VHF Band III spectrum for digital radio across the rest of Australia. 

New digital only stations include; NovaNation, Koffee, U20 radio, Radar radio, Classic Hits Plus, Classic Hits Live, The EDGE, Gorilla Super Digi, mY Perth Digital, Hot Country Perth Digital, The Crack, Barry, Zoo Super Digi, Aussie, MyMP, SkySports Radio Digital and 4TAB digital two, plus an ongoing selection of pop up stations that are created for an event or featured artist and then transform into another concept.

CRA recently ran two successful Automotive Industry Workshops receiving positive feedback from the car manufacturers for the integration of digital radio into vehicles.

Looking ahead Ms Warner said: ”Broadcasters want digital radio to be available throughout the whole of Australia and to see all new cars with factory fitted digital radio.  Radio is a part of Australians everyday routine and we want to continue to provide listeners with new and exciting content to keep our loyal listener base.”

New DAB+ Only Stations 

U20 Radio - created by U.  If you’re under 20 create your own hour long radio program and you could be heard across Australia.

Radar Radio -  Undiscovered artists with a focus on Australian talent.

The Edge Digital  - R&B, Hip Hop and dirty pop.

Classic Hits Plus - Showcasing the biggest and most popular artists – a month of Jimmy Barnes.

Koffee - Chill out with this mood and lifestyle station.

NovaNation -  A national, 24 hour, 7 day a week dance music station.
Gorilla SuperDigi -  All day dance and all night dance music.

Zoo Super Digi -  Smooth rock variety.

The Buckle -  Modern contemporary country music.

my Perth Digital  - Playing a smooth selection of favourites from the 70’s to today.

Hot Country  -  music from Australia and the world.

The Crack Comedy -  music and laughs. 

Sky Sports Radio Digital - Sports programming including English football league and racing from around the world.

Classic Hits Live - Live performances from the biggest music artists from Australian and around the world.

4TAB  Digital Two - Sport with a focus on racing in Australia and around the world.
Aussie A mix of Australian music, sport and talk.

MyMp - Easy listening music.

my Canberra Digital - DAB+ trial station

Hot Country Canberra - Digital DAB+ trial station
Barry -  An amusing sanctuary for all Barrys.

Pop Up Stations  - Event stations have included; Pink Radio, High Voltage, Elf Radio, Radio GaGa, I see Red, Hamish and Andy Caravan of Courage.

Public Broadcasters SBS Pop Asia, SBS Chill, ABC Jazz, ABC Country, ABC Dig, ABC Grandstand, ABC Extra.

*Nielsen Radio Ratings five metro markets survey 4, 2010, Monday – Sunday 12am – 12 am, all people 10yrs+ -  platform of listening.
**In the market supply chain (chip maker, manufacturer, and retailer) supported by GfK sales data, official 
manufacturer data and Frontier Silicon (80-90% of DAB+ chip market) reports. 


December 2003 Trial begins in Sydney of Eureka 147 or DAB technology.

March 2007 Legislative framework for more spectrum efficient DAB+ technology in place.

May/June 2009 Commercial radio DAB+ digital radio services switch on in interference mode in  Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth.

July 2009  ABC and SBS commence DAB+ digital services.

August 2009 - Major all of industry commercial and public broadcaster consumer launch of digital radio in high power.

March 2010 First Digital Radio Industry Report released including sales & listening data.

May 2010  DAB+ Canberra trial announced by SBS & commercial radio broadcasters.

July 2010  Canberra DAB+ trial begins.

6 August 2010  DAB+ digital radio one year on air at full power in Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney.

August 2010 DAB+ Darwin trial scheduled to commence

Media contact - Melissa Fleming - 0417 499 529