Digital radio in Australia

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Digital radio in Australia uses the DAB+ standard and is available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Darwin.[1] The national government owned networks, the ABC and SBS, and the commercial radio stations in each market provide many of their services and a few digital-only services on the digital platform. Australia uses the AAC+ codec provided with upgraded DAB+ standard.[2]

History[edit]

Despite testing in Sydney and Melbourne as early as 1999, the first genuine plan for digital radio was released in October 2005, as Helen Coonan, the then Australian Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, announced that Australia would adopt the Eureka 147 system. The Australian Government had set a launch date for digital radio in the six state capital cities, originally 1 January 2009, but this launch date was subsequently shifted back to no later than 1 July 2009 [3] and the list of cities starting digital radio excluded Hobart. The peak industry body, Commercial Radio Australia, began coordinating the tests as well as organising the commercial multiplexes.

The major radio networks commenced a staged roll-out of commercial DAB+ services during May 2009 with Perth launching on 4 May 2009; Melbourne on 11 May 2009; Adelaide on 20 May 2009; Brisbane on 25 May 2009; and Sydney on 30 May 2009 (later delayed to 15 June due to weather conditions and kept on low power until 30 June). The roll-out of DAB+ services by the Government-owned ABC and SBS networks was delayed until 1 July 2009 due to funding delays and management issues.[4] Testing has been planned for other major cities, with a trial multiplex in Canberra commencing broadcasting on 14 July 2010,[5] and a trial multiplex running in Darwin since 13 August 2010.[6] Similar trials are being considered for Townsville and Hobart, and, as of December 2010, commercial broadcasters in regional markets have begun planning to introduce digital radio into regional population centres, possibly as soon as 2011 or 2012.[7] However, it is expected that it will be some years before digital radio is extended to the bulk of the Australian continent. Australia's vast distances and low population density are not well suited to the propagation characteristics of DAB+ and it is therefore likely that a standard other than DAB+ will be adopted for serving areas outside the major cities (leading to customer acceptance issues with receivers that can only receive one of the likely two standards).

Community digital radio services were rolled out to capital cities in late 2010 to May 2011 and were formally launched in May 2011.[8] The roll out of community digital radio services represents the largest ever infrastructure project conducted by the community broadcasting sector in Australia. The project was managed by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia.

Current services[edit]

National broadcasters[edit]

The ABC and SBS operate digital radio services in all current DAB+ broadcasting markets on frequency block 9C (206.352MHz),[9] While most services are national, the ABC provides the local ABC Local Radio station for their respective location.

Canberra is not part of the official DAB+ rollout, but is part of the technical trials on regional broadcasting happening in Canberra and Darwin. In Canberra, where due to bandwidth limitations, only a subset of ABC and SBS stations are broadcast, on frequency block 10B (211.648MHz) - along with commercial stations. The Darwin trial includes only commercial stations, and ABC and SBS are unavailable.[10]

The local radio services are mostly a simulcast of their AM radio equivalents, however alternate programming is aired pre-empting most sports coverage (which is moved to digital-only station ABC Grandstand). This programming is also on the ABC's online streams, where sporting rights may prevent international coverage. The ABC also have a number of digital only radio stations,[11] including ABC Jazz, ABC Dig Music, ABC Country, and special events station ABC Extra,[12] which is used to provide additional coverage for special events, otherwise not able to be covered.

9C National Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner Bitrate
ABC Local Radio Talk, News, Music and more. Labelled as the name of the local station, e.g. 702 ABC Sydney or 891 ABC Adelaide ABC 64kbit/s
ABC Radio National National talk and arts radio AM Simulcast ABC 64kbit/s
ABC Classic FM Classical Music FM Simulcast ABC 80kbit/s
ABC NewsRadio News and Parliamentary Broadcasts AM Simulcast ABC 48kbit/s
Triple J Youth focused music station FM Simulcast ABC 80kbit/s
ABC Dig Music Adult Contemporary Music DAB+, DTV, Online ABC 80kbit/s
ABC Country Country Music DAB+, online ABC 80kbit/s
ABC Jazz Jazz Music DAB+, DTV, Online ABC 80kbit/s
ABC Grandstand Live Sports Coverage Digital Only ABC 40kbit/s
ABC Extra Special Event Radio Digital Only ABC 72kbit/s
Triple J Unearthed Australian independent music station Digital Only ABC 72kbit/s
SBS Radio 1 Multilingual Radio SBS FM Service (Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra), Digital only (elsewhere) SBS 40kbit/s
SBS Radio 2 Multilingual Radio SBS AM Service (Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra), Digital only (elsewhere) SBS 40kbit/s
SBS Chill World Chillout Music Digital Only SBS 56kbit/s
SBS Pop Asia Asian Pop Music Digital Only SBS 64kbit/s
SBS Pop Araby Arabic Pop Music Digital Only SBS 48kbit/s
SBS Pop Desi South Asian Pop Music Digital Only SBS 48kbit/s
SBS Extra BBC World Service Simulcast. Some opt outs, including sports coverage & special events.[13] Digital Only SBS 48kbit/s
SBS Radio 3 Multilingual Radio simulcast with SBS AM and FM service. Digital Only SBS 40kbit/s

Commercial and community radio[edit]

Each region with access to digital radio has a number of multiplexes set aside for commercial and community radio services. In these multiplexes, two-ninths of the bandwidth are reserved for community broadcasters, while the rest is used for commercial broadcasters. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have been provided with two such multiplexes, which broadcast on frequency blocks 9A (202.928 MHz) and 9B (204.640 MHz), allowing a greater number of stations, while Adelaide and Perth currently have just one commercial/community multiplex each, both broadcasting on frequency block 9B. Canberra has only one frequency block, 10B (211.648 MHz) which is shared with ABC and SBS, and Darwin's trial multiplex also broadcasts on frequency block 10B.

Commercial services on digital radio include simulcasts of both AM and FM stations, as well as new digital-only services. While most commercial radio services in Australia are provided by a small number of companies, there are no true national commercial stations. However, since these commercial broadcasters have been given extra bandwidth on the digital platform, some new digital-only stations are available nationally, including NovaNation (DMG), Triple M Classic Rock (Austereo) and The Edge Digital (ARN).

Community Radio stations with a city wide licence have reserved spectrum, equalling 2/9s of the capacity on each commercial multiplex.[14] The Federal Government has promised $10.1 Million in funding to help community broadcasters with the costs of beginning digital broadcasts. During late 2010 and early 2011 most of the eligible community stations in Melbourne and several in Sydney and Brisbane began test transmissions. Melbourne's community radio stations officially launched their digital services on 14 April 2011,[15] followed by Adelaide's community radio stations on 15 April 2011,[16] Brisbane's on 14 May 2011,[17] and Sydney's on 24 May 2011.[18] Services in Perth are broadcasting in digital. Community Digital Radio services were formally launched by Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on Friday 13 May 2011 in Melbourne.[19]

Adelaide[edit]

9B Adelaide Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner
Cruise 1323 Classic hits Simulcast of 1323 AM ARN
Mix 102.3 Hot adult contemporary Simulcast of 102.3 FM ARN
Mix 80's 80's Music Digital only ARN
Chemist Warehouse Mix 90's 90's Music Digital only ARN
The Edge Digital Rhythmic contemporary Digital only, related to Edge 96.1 ARN
Mix 102.3 Plus Classic hits, monthly featured artist Digital only ARN
FIVEaa Talk radio Simulcast of 1395 AM DMG
Nova 91.9 Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 91.9 FM DMG
Koffee Chill-out music Digital only DMG
Coles Radio[20] Pop music Digital only DMG
Triple M Active rock Simulcast of 104.7 FM Austereo
Triple M Classic Rock Classic rock Digital only Austereo
SAFM Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 107.1 FM Austereo
Buddha Radio Chill-out music Digital only Austereo
The Main Stage Touring artists music Digital only Austereo
5RPH Radio reading service Simulcast of 1197 AM Community
IRIS Radio reading service Digital only Community
Fresh 92.7 Dance music Simulcast of 92.7 FM Community
Three D Radio Varied Simulcast of 93.7 FM Community
5MBS Classical music Simulcast of 99.9 FM Community
Radio Adelaide Varied Simulcast of 101.5 FM Community
Inspire Digital Adult Contemporary/Christian Digital only, related to Life FM (Adelaide) Community

Brisbane[edit]

9A Brisbane Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner
4KQ Classic hits Simulcast of 693 AM ARN
97.3 Hot adult contemporary Simulcast of 97.3 FM ARN/DMG joint venture
The Edge Digital Rhythmic contemporary Digital only, related to Edge 96.1 ARN
4KQ Plus Classic hits, monthly featured artist Digital only ARN
Mix 80's 80's Music Digital only ARN
Chemist Warehouse Mix 90's 90's Music Digital only ARN
Nova 106.9 Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 106.9 FM DMG
NovaNation Dance music Digital only DMG
Koffee Chill-out music Digital only DMG
Radio Free by Virgin Mobile User-controlled freeform music Digital only DMG/Virgin Mobile
Radio TAB Horse racing, sport Simulcast of 1008 AM UNITAB
Switch Digital Various Digital only, related to Switch 1197 Community
96.5 Inspire DAB Christian Digital only, related to 96five Family FM Community
Global (4EB) Ethnic Programming and World Music Digital Only Community
9B Brisbane Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner
Triple M Active rock Simulcast of 104.5 FM Austereo
Triple M Classic Rock Classic rock Digital only Austereo
B105 Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 105.3 FM Austereo
Buddha Radio Chill-out music Digital only Austereo
The Main Stage Touring artists music Digital only Austereo
4BH Easy listening Simulcast of 882 AM Fairfax
4BC Talk radio Simulcast of 1116 AM Fairfax
The Buckle Country music Digital only Fairfax
4AAA 989 Country Indigenous Simulcast of 98.9 FM Community
Zed Digital Independent music Digital only, related to 4ZZZ Community
4MBS Light Classical music Digital only Community

Canberra[edit]

10B Canberra Trial Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner
666 ABC Canberra Talk, News, Music and more. Simulcast of 666 AM ABC
ABC Jazz Featuring releases from Australia's best jazz musicians and from around the world Digital Only ABC
ABC Radio Grandstand Coverage of Australian and international sport. Digital Only ABC
ABC Radio National National talk and arts radio Simulcast of 846 AM ABC
Triple J Unearthed Australia independent and unsigned artists Digital Only ABC
2CA Classic hits Simulcast of 1053 AM Capital Radio Network/Grant Broadcasters joint venture
2CC Talk radio Simulcast of 1206 AM Capital Radio Network/Grant Broadcasters joint venture
Hot Country Country music Digital Only Grant Broadcasters
My Canberra Digital Hot adult contemporary Digital only Capital Radio Network
Canberra 100 Celebrating Canberra's 100th Birthday and unsigned local artists Digital Only ARN/Austereo joint venture
104.7 Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 104.7 FM ARN/Austereo joint venture
Mix 106.3 Hot adult contemporary Simulcast of 106.3 FM ARN/Austereo joint venture
Classic Hits Plus Classic Hits Digital Only ARN
SBS Radio 1 Multilingual Radio Simulcast of 105.5 FM SBS
SBS Radio 2 Multilingual Radio Simulcast of 1440 AM SBS
SBS Chill World Chillout Music Digital Only SBS
SBS Pop Asia Asian Pop Music Digital Only SBS
Note: The Canberra multiplex (10B) is shared with SBS and ABC. Details of the Canberra trial (including coverage area) are available from the ACMA website[21]

Darwin[edit]

10B Darwin Trial Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner
Hot 100 FM Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 100.1 FM Grant Broadcasters
Mix 104.9 Hot adult contemporary Simulcast of 104.9 FM Grant Broadcasters
Top Country NT Country music Simulcast of 92.3 FM* Grant Broadcasters
Radio TAB Horse racing, sport Simulcast of 1242 AM* UNITAB
Classic Rock Digital Rock music Digital Only Grant Broadcasters
Note: Top Country and Radio TAB broadcast on limited licenses, and as a result are treated as digital only stations.

Melbourne[edit]

9A Melbourne Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner Bitrate
Radio Sport National Racing Simulcast of 927 AM Racing Victoria 64kbit/s
RSN Carnival Racing Digital Only Racing Victoria 64kbit/s
Radio TAB Horse racing, sport Digital only UNITAB 24kbit/s
SEN 1116 Sports/talk Simulcast of 1116 AM Pacific Star 64kbit/s
3MP MyMP Soft adult contemporary Simulcast of 1377 AM Pacific Star 64kbit/s
Aussie Australian rock music Digital only Pacific Star 64kbit/s
Koool Adult contemporary/Classic hits Digital only Pacific Star 64kbit/s
smoothfm 91.5 Easy listening Simulcast of 91.5 FM DMG 64kbit/s
Nova 100 Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 100.3 FM DMG 64kbit/s
Koffee Chill-out music Digital only DMG 64kbit/s
NovaNation Dance music Digital only DMG 64kbit/s
Light Digital Christian Contemporary Digital only, related to 89.9 Light FM Community 64kbit/s
3ZZZ Ethnic Simulcast of 92.3 FM Community 64kbit/s
3RRR Varied Simulcast of 102.7 FM Community 64kbit/s
3MBS Classical Music Simulcast of 103.5 FM Community 64kbit/s
9B Melbourne Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner Bitrate
3AW Talk Simulcast of 693 AM Fairfax 80kbit/s
3AW+ Talk Simulcast of 693 AM Fairfax 48kbit/s
Magic 1278 Easy listening Simulcast of 1278 AM Fairfax 64kbit/s
The Buckle Country music Digital only Fairfax 64kbit/s
Mix 101.1 Hot adult contemporary Simulcast of 101.1 FM ARN 48kbit/s
Gold 104.3 Classic hits Simulcast of 104.3 FM ARN 48kbit/s
The Edge Digital Rhythmic contemporary Digital only, related to Edge 96.1 ARN 48kbit/s
Mix 80's 80's Music Digital only ARN 48kbit/s
Mix 90's 90's Music Digital only ARN 48kbit/s
Chemist Warehouse Mix 90's 90's Music Digital only ARN 32kbit/s
Fox FM Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 101.9 FM Austereo 64kbit/s
Triple M Active rock Simulcast of 105.1 FM Austereo 64kbit/s
Triple M Classic Rock Classic rock Digital only Austereo 64kbit/s
Buddha Radio Chill-out music Digital only Austereo 64kbit/s
Stardust Radio Oldies Digital only Austereo 48kbit/s
Loveland Love Songs & Pop Music Digital only Austereo 56kbit/s
3CR Varied Simulcast of 855 AM Community 64kbit/s
3KND Indigenous Simulcast of 1503 AM Community 64kbit/s
SYN Youth Youth/Student Simulcast of 90.7 FM Community 64kbit/s
PBS Digital Varied Simulcast of 106.7 FM Community 64kbit/s
IRIS Radio reading service Digital only Community 64kbit/s

Perth[edit]

9B Perth Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner
6PR Talk Simulcast of 882 AM Fairfax
96fm Mainstream rock Simulcast of 96.1 FM Fairfax
The Buckle Country music Digital only Fairfax
6IX Classic hits Simulcast of 1080 AM Capital Radio Network/Grant Broadcasters joint venture
My Perth Digital Hot adult contemporary Digital only Capital Radio Network
DJFM Perth Dance/Electronic Digital only BrantMedia
Hot Country Country music Digital only Grant Broadcasters
Nova 93.7 Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 93.7 FM DMG
smoothfm Easy Listening Digital only DMG
92.9 Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 92.9 FM Austereo
Mix 94.5 Modern adult contemporary Simulcast of 94.5 FM Austereo
Buddha Radio Chill-out music Digital only Austereo
Triple M Classic Rock Classic rock Digital only Austereo
990 6RPH Information Radio Information Simulcast of 990 AM Community
RTRFM Public Radio and Music & Arts Community Simulcast of 92.1 FM Community
6EBA Ethnic radio Simulcast of 95.7 FM Community
98.5 Sonshine FM Christian Community Radio Simulcast of 98.5 FM Community
Curtin FM University Community Radio (Music, Talk, News) Simulcast of 100.1 FM Community
Noongar Radio 100.9 Indigenous Simulcast of 100.9 FM Community
Capital 101.7FM Seniors community Simulcast of 101.7 FM Community

Sydney[edit]

9A Sydney Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner
2UE Talk Simulcast of 954 AM Fairfax
Sky Sports Radio 1 Racing/sport Simulcast of 1017 AM Sky
Sky Sports Radio 2 Racing/sport Digital only Sky
2SM Talk Simulcast of 1269 AM Broadcast Operations Group
Gorilla Radio Dance music Digital only Broadcast Operations Group
Dance Super Digi Party Digital only Broadcast Operations Group
Fun Super Digi Classic Hits Digital only Broadcast Operations Group
Zoo Super Digi Classic Hits & Adult contemporary Digital only Broadcast Operations Group
2Day FM Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 104.1 FM Southern Cross Austereo
Triple M Active rock Simulcast of 104.9 FM Southern Cross Austereo
Triple M Classic Rock Classic rock Digital only Southern Cross Austereo
Buddha Radio Chill-out music Digital only Southern Cross Austereo
Stardust Radio Oldies Digital only Southern Cross Austereo
LoveLand Love Songs & Pop Music Digital only Southern Cross Austereo
2RPH Digital Radio Reading Simulcast of 1224 AM and 101.5 FM Community
2MFM Islamic programming Simulcast of 92.1 FM Community
2000 Languages Ethnic Simulcast of 98.5 FM Community
2MBS Classical Music Simulcast of 102.5 FM Community
9B Sydney Multiplex
Station Name Format Details Owner
2GB Talk Simulcast of 873 AM Macquarie
2CH Oldies Simulcast of 1170 AM Macquarie
The Crack Music and comedy Digital only Macquarie
smoothfm 95.3 Easy listening Simulcast of 95.3 FM DMG
Nova 96.9 Top 40 (CHR) & Independent Music Simulcast of 96.9 FM DMG
Koffee Chill-out music Digital only DMG
Coles Radio (Formerly NovaNation) Supermarket Radio Digital only DMG
WSFM Classic Hits & Hot Adult contemporary Simulcast of 101.7 FM ARN
Kiis 1065 Top 40 (CHR) Simulcast of 106.5 FM ARN
The Edge Digital Rhythmic contemporary Simulcast of 96.1 FM ARN
Mix 80's 80's Music Digital only ARN
Mix 90's 90's Music Digital only ARN
Chemist Warehouse Remix Classic Hits & Hot Adult contemporary Digital only ARN
Koori Radio Indigenous Simulcast of 93.7 FM Community
FBi Radio Independent Music Simulcast of 94.5 FM Community
2SER Digital Varied Simulcast of 107.3 FM Community
Star Observer Digital LGBTI Radio Digital only (pop-up station) Community
Inspire Digital Christian Music Digital only - related to Hope 103.2 FM Community
Hope 103.2 Hot adult contemporary & Christian Music Simulcast of 103.2 FM Hope Media

References[edit]

External links[edit]