Canberra: January 1 2009 is the start date for digital radio in 12 capital cities and regional centres in Australia. Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan today announced that the Government would put in place legislation and regulatory arrangements to allow the introduction of digital radio by 1 January 2009.
"Barring any unforeseen hurdles with spectrum planning, we consider it a feasible timeframe,” said Joan Warner, CEO of broadcast industry body, Commercial Radio Australia.
Ms Warner said the industry had commenced business planning for a national rollout beginning in 12 capital cities and major regional areas, and would be making a significant investment in building a digital transmission network.
“Our research shows Australians are extremely interested in digital radio, and we are working towards delivering a lot of exciting new features and content that will allow radio to compete more effectively against new technologies,” Ms Warner said.
Research by Colmar Brunton Media Solutions showed 75 per cent of people surveyed and 84 per cent of 18-24-year-olds saying they would be very or quite interested in purchasing a digital radio priced within their budget (up from 68% and 80% respectively in a similar survey undertaken in 2004).
The research, undertaken Australia-wide, showed that a significant majority - 67 per cent - of people surveyed said commercial radio was their primary source of hearing new music and 79 per cent said they listen to commercial radio every week.
“The uptake of mp3 players doesn’t seem to have dampened consumer enthusiasm for the concept of digital radio at all,” Ms Warner said.