Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has confirmed that Canberra, Darwin and Hobart will be next to receive permanent DAB+ digital radio services after welcoming the ABC’s announcement that it intends to extend its services in the three capitals.
CRA chief executive Joan Warner said commercial broadcasters were working closely with the ABC and SBS on the regional rollout plans.
“We’ve been aware for some time that local listeners in regional areas are extremely keen to have DAB+ services introduced and we are working closely with the public broadcasters to make this happen,” she said.
“DAB+ is greener and more spectrum efficient than analogue radio and is particularly well-suited to Australians living in regional areas because it allows broadcasters to use their allocated capacity dynamically.
“For example, broadcasters can launch pop-up stations to provide 24/7 emergency services bulletins in times of fire or flood.”
Warner said commercial broadcasters were working with public broadcasters on coordinating launch dates, with permanent digital radio services to commence in Canberra and Darwin in 2017, and in Hobart in 2018.
Digital radio was launched in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in 2009.
Commercial broadcasters Capital Radio and Canberra FM have been running trial digital radio services in Canberra for a few years and Grant Broadcasters has also been on-air in Darwin on a trial basis.
Warner said the radio industry is committed to a digital broadcast future via DAB+ combined with online.
“This is especially important in terms of spectrum efficiency and operational costs,” she said.
“We will also continue to discuss financial support with the federal government for DAB+ rollout into regions as was provided to the television industry for its digital switchover.
“As the major electronic mediums, radio and television must receive equal treatment from the government to ensure optimum services in regional Australia, and more diversity and choice for regional Australians.”
Figures released by research firm GfK yesterday show that 27 per cent of the population (3.6 million Aussies) in the five mainland state capitals listen to digital radio via DAB+ devices each week.
CRA also recently launched a new on-air Christmas marketing campaign with British designer audio brand QV designed to put the glamour into digital radio products and drive sales through retailers.