Peter Tuskan
Staff Writer

Here’s how Double J became Australia’s #1 digital station

The ABC has developed a real winner in the realms of digital radio. What started as Dig Music until its relaunch under the renowned ‘J’ banner in 2014, Double J is at a prime locus, combining technological innovation with the highest standard of radio content.

The first ever DAB+ survey results reflect just that – Double J was crowned the most listened-to digital-only radio station in Australia, boasting a combined nationwide audience of 200,000 each week.

As the frontrunner in Australian digital radio, Double J holds a particularly devoted and steadfast listenership with unique perspectives on genre-specific music content that keeps audiences coming back for more.

Radio Today asked a handful of Double J presenters why they think the station has flourished over its short four-year existence.

Myf Warhurst

The former Spicks & Specks team captain presents weekday show Lunch With Myf and believes that a focus on listener engagement and catered content is paramount to the station’s success.

“Double J has filled a gap that was left for people who love music, but feel like they might have grown out of triple j,” Warhurst said.

“Personally, I feel like I’m making radio for people like me, who got a little older, but are still passionate about great music, old and new, but also want to stay up to date with what’s happening now.

Warhurst is genuinely invested in her listeners and sees that reciprocated in many ways.

“I like to involve the listeners in daily conversations, have in-depth discussions with artists they’re interested in and keep them up to date with the latest music news.”

“A big measure of success for me is when I’m out and about, seeing live music and talking to people directly. People often come up and say they’ve been listening and loving what the station is doing. They feel connected to Double J in a quite a personal way, where they trust us like friends.

“I also get a lot of texts, tweets and messages every show, so you know that the audience is really there. It’s nice now to have that reflected in a concrete way through the ratings. #1 hey!”


Karen Leng

One of Australia’s most respected music programmers, Leng’s afternoon show delivers a broad music experience, celebrating trailblazing artists throughout the decades, as well as connecting the dots to great new and innovative music.

“I think Double J’s success comes from a real understanding of and affinity with our audience,” she told Radio Today. “We provide top-notch music content to an audience of music lovers, who lead busy lives but are as passionate about music as they ever were.”

Leng highlights the advantages of digital radio when broadcasting to an audience primarily comprised of middle-aged music fans.

“Many listeners are juggling work and family and having Double J as a digital station means listeners can tune in live or listen back later on demand when it suits. Music discovery is still such an important part of their lives and we’re trusted recommenders.”

For Leng, there’s nothing better than receiving news that a fan, artist or label is identifying and engaging with her content.

“The greatest measure of success is feedback from listeners and I love to receive it. Record companies and artists from Australia and internationally send music to me for airplay and I frequently receive positive feedback about the great content and the new opportunities made possible for artists by Double J.”


Tim Shiel

A multi-instrumentalist and producer, Shiel is a champion of local innovative music. His show, Something More, explores the realms of creative and experimental sounds.

“It’s a myth that 30-50-year-olds don’t have a passion for new music,” he told Radio Today. “I think it’s more that there hasn’t been an intelligent offering in that space for radio listeners in that demographic.

“Now at Double J, we have a team of really warm and thoughtful personalities programming music in a way that celebrates music discovery. We know people are short on time, and we want to give them quick access to meaningful music that they can slot into their lives in a real way.”

Shiel understands the importance of presenting a program that is engaging for music aficionados while remaining accessible enough for the average listener.

“For me, acknowledging that Double J has such a broad and diverse audience, my challenge every week is figuring out how to contextualise the music that I play – which can sometimes be pretty out there.

“I know that at any given time there is someone sitting in their lounge room with Channel 200 on their TV, someone who probably has little knowledge of experimental music, at least not in that highly engaged ‘music fan’ kind of way – I need to present a show that works for them, as well as working for a more specialised ‘music fan’ listener.”

Beyond the programming itself, Shiels is reminded of the impact he has on music fans, exploring new or unusual genres that are otherwise overlooked.

“Just knowing that I’m opening up people’s minds to new music on a weekly basis is so energising. I’ve had some really nice anecdotal evidence of that – just last week I had a listener write in to our text line to thank me for playing a track by pianist Nils Frahm – he told me he’d first heard the song a couple of years ago on my show and that it had inspired him to the learn the piano.”

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nick bartlett
20 Apr 2017 - 9:45 am

So many digital radio stations have dreadful sound quality. Part of Double J’s success is that it sounds good. In Sydney some of the digital offerings – Gorilla, OMG, Zoo and Fun – sound worse than an AM radio station.

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