ABC Radio is on track to be on air with digital radio by July 2009, it was confirmed today.
While the radio industry slated an earlier launch date of May 1 late last year for the five metropolitan markets to receive digital radio – Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth – this is now not possible. For ABC Radio, a delay in funding confirmation pushed back equipment orders and the commencement of infrastructure installation, preventing an earlier rollout.
Testing of DAB+ digital radio transmission facilities commences throughout May in each of the five mainland capital cities. The ABC is working with the commercial sector and SBS to determine that schedule, a collaborative approach necessary to determine the final transmission output power and to manage any potential interference issues.
A full range of ABC Radio services will commence on air by July, in line with the Federal Government’s legislated start date for digital radio services.
From 1 July ABC Radio will offer its five current analogue services – ABC Local Radio stations in the five markets, ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM, ABC NewsRadio and triple j, plus its three music services currently on the internet – dig Music, Jazz and Country.
Acting Director of ABC Radio Kate Dundas said, “We are keen for these digital radio offerings to be media rich services that take advantage of a new medium. We’ll take some time to see how our first eight services are received in the market following the July launch.”
Ms Dundas said, “We’re also keen to see what audiences want, and following the outcome of the ABC’s overall triennial funding submission, we will be in a clearer position to progressively look at the kind of additional digital radio services we can put to air. The mix of future offerings to be developed would play to ABC Radio’s programming and content strengths, and deliver Australian audiences the high quality services they expect of us.”
ABC Radio will join SBS and the commercial radio sector in a major listener event to be held in early August once full services are available in all markets.