Weekly DAB+ listeners climbs to 2.35 million: CRA

Staff Writer

Australia’s digital-only radio stations attracted a weekly audience of 2.35 million in 2020, according to new GfK data released by industry body, Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).

This marks a 15% increase from 2.04 million in 2019, the data indicates.

When simulcasts from AM and FM stations were added to the mix, the 2020 DAB+ audience was 4 million.

Eleven commercial DAB+ stations ended the year with a national weekly audience above 100,000.

CRA chief executive officer, Joan Warner, noted the impact the car sales market had on the trend.

“DAB+ audiences have grown as a result of broadcasters enhancing their digital radio formats and car manufacturers continuing to add DAB+ radios to their vehicle ranges,” she said.

“Car sales recovered strongly in the last two months of last year as a result of consumers buying new vehicles for domestic road trips. This contributed to a total of 700,000 new vehicles with DAB+ on the road during 2020.”

Data from Glass’s Information Services shows 77% of new vehicles sold during the year were equipped with DAB+, and GfK’s point of sales report estimates that consumers purchased an additional 129,000 DAB+ receivers in 2020, bringing the total sales to 2.8 million since launch.

DAB+ is available in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Darwin, Canberra and Mandurah. Commercial broadcasters on the Gold Coast are working with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on the roll-out.

CRA said the top-rating DAB+ stations include Coles Radio, ARN’s The 80s and The 90s, OldSkool Hits, Triple M Classic Rock, Smooth Relax, Edge Digital, Urban Hits, Triple M Country, 2CH and Buddha Hits.

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If things don't work out CRA could teach a spin class.
2 Mar 2021 - 4:46 pm

It’s been a slow climb. Launched in 2009, still only has the equivalent of a singular mediocre national networks Drive show listening.

Anthony The Koala
2 Mar 2021 - 6:02 pm

I have been listening to radio on the DAB+ band since 2009.

The impetus for purchasing a DAB+ receiver was that ABC News Radio was transmitting the Federal Parliament broadcasts on its analogue (630kHz) channel and its rolling news coverage on DAB+. The result is that I have a choice between listening to the Federal Parliament whenever Federal Parliament is broadcast.

Nevertheless, I listen to AM radio when a particular DAB+ signal says “OFF AIR”.

My comment is about the overall sound of the DAB+ stations rather than the program content.

Depending on number of bits-per-second, a DAB station can sound close to FM radio quality, near-CD quality or better than CD quality.

However there seems to be a problem 2SM’s DAB+ signal. Despite broadcasting at 64 kilobits-per-second, it sounds like it’s in mono and lacks the clarity of other stations broadcasting at lower bitrates such as WS-FM’s DAB+ signal at a bitrate 48 kilobits-per-second.

If the DAB+ station’s is transmitting at lower bitrates such 32 kilobits-per-second, there is no problem listening to spoken word content. When it comes to musical content, high frequency aspects of the music such as cymbals and violins sound “metallic”/”tinny”.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield

4 Mar 2021 - 10:21 am

DAB+ needs more actual promotion. People still don’t know what it is – and that’s a disgrace to both the industry and ACMA given it’s been on air for more than a decade. Most people in the street have still never heard of it.


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