DAB+ radio set to launch on the Gold Coast

DAB+ digital radio will launch on the Gold Coast on April 4, bringing nine new commercial radio stations to Australia’s sixth-largest city, industry body Commercial Radio Australia said today.

The launch will make Gold Coast the tenth city in Australia to have DAB+, which stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting. 

DAB+ is a greener and more spectrum efficient technology than AM and FM and offers better audio and text information.

Broadcasters ARN and SCA will launch the new DAB+ stations while existing stations Sea FMTriple M and Hot Tomato will be simulcast on DAB+ and continue on FM.

Listeners can buy a DAB+ radio to listen to the new stations, although the technology is already widespread with 4.47 million cars on the road with DAB+ radios. 

Last year, 78% of all new vehicles sold in Australia were factory fitted with DAB+.

“The rollout of digital broadcasting technology allows the radio industry to bring more stations, new music formats, enhanced sound quality and more innovation, including pop-up stations, to Gold Coast listeners,” said Joan Warner, chief executive officer of CRA.

“This significant investment in improving commercial radio services recognises that Australians use a variety of technologies and devices to listen to radio. As people move between the car to the home and mobile devices, we want them to have a reliable, high-quality listening experience across all platforms.”

SCA CEO, Grant Blackley, said: “As a successful early adopter of the digital radio spectrum, we are delighted that Gold Coast listeners will now be able to access new DAB+ stations from the Hit and Triple M family.”

“Nationally our DAB+ stable reaches more than 970,000 people every week and is continuing to grow. DAB+ offers a higher-quality listening experience and for SCA the ability to increase our audience in southeast Queensland. We will be announcing our DAB+ Gold Coast station lineup shortly.”

ARN Regional, COO, Michael Harvey, said: “As leaders in local content, we’re excited to be able to elevate the current FM listening experience onto the DAB+ spectrum, but beyond that, given that the Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth-largest city with one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, it presents a significant opportunity for national advertisers to connect with an audience at scale.”

Nearly five million people tuned in each week to all DAB+ stations (including simulcasts) across the five major metro capitals and Canberra in 2021. This reflected strong growth of 8.5% compared to 4.6 million in 2020.

The weekly commercial DAB+ audience surged by 10% to 3.7 million people from 3.3 million previously (comprising those listening to simulcast stations via a DAB+ radio and those listening to DAB+ only stations on any device).  

Fifteen commercial DAB+ only stations ended 2021 with more than 100,000 weekly listeners. Triple M Classic Rock was at the top with a cumulative national audience of 248,000, Coles Radio was second on 243,000 and KIIS 90s attracted 190,000 listeners. Tik Tok Trending (184,000 listeners) and Smooth Relax (163,000) rounded out the top five commercial stations.

The average time spent listening via a DAB+ radio was 9 hours and 50 mins each week.

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PB
28 Mar 2022 - 9:08 am

will Breeze & Rebel make the change to DAB+ ?

    Staff Writer
    28 Mar 2022 - 10:29 am

    Good question, we will ask.

      Staff Writer
      28 Mar 2022 - 1:01 pm

      We asked CRA. The answer is “No – the DAB+ rollout is for Gold Coast licence area holders.”
      Thanks for your question.

Here's the answer
28 Mar 2022 - 12:10 pm

Simple answer is no.

Rebel Media’s licences are RNEZ RA1.

Digital radio is licensed for Gold Coast RA1.

Only 4SEA, 4GLD & 4HTB have commercial licences.

4HTB’s licence auctioned for $26M. The predecessor to Rebel and Breeze was by application.

Despite a translator within Gold Coast RA1 and licence area extending to Mudgeeraba, Robina and Broadbeach, (a block or so from the Surfers Paradise Crowne Plaza with revolving restaurant atop); Murwillumbah RA1 is not included and 2MW (Radio 97/FM 104.1/103.5) will not be heard on digital.

2SM did submit a request to ACMA for aggregating the digital market, Gold Coast licensees declined. This is surprising considering the desire of previous SCA leadership regimes who have publicly submitted a desire for a coverage extension deeper into Tweed Shire.

ACMA are still offering the opportunity to aggregate digital multiplexes yet the ever backwards, ever competition averse commercial radio sector keep saying no; to the detriment of the entire sector.

Wake up CRA, the world will pass you by and no amount of regulatory protectionism will save you (as evidenced by FTA TV now).

ben
28 Mar 2022 - 4:26 pm

any word on the ABC down there (and i guess for BNE commuters and travelers) if our car radios will switch automatically to the ABC services on the goldie?

    Staff Writer
    28 Mar 2022 - 5:52 pm

    Thanks for the question. You will probably need to do a channel reset once on your car radio when you reach the area.

ex radio star
29 Mar 2022 - 12:23 pm

Why did it take this long?

Digital radio was first tested in Australia in 1999 then rolled out nationally in May 2009. But only NOW Australia’s sixth biggest city the GC is getting it? Meanwhile everyone’s turned to streaming including from smart speakers and in the car.

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