By Joan Warner, Asia Pacific Chair, WorldDAB & CEO Commercial Radio Australia
DAB+ digital radio is rapidly gaining critical mass in Australia, with latest figures showing it has added 168,000 listeners to reach an audience of 3.5 million in the five largest metropolitan capitals.
Digital radio is becoming a part of everyday life – if you do your weekly shopping at supermarket chain Coles, like millions of Australians, you will hear Coles Radio playing in the aisles. Coles Radio is now the country’s top rating digital-only station.
If you stop into a pharmacy, you may find yourself listening to a DAB+ station called Chemist Warehouse Remix.
And if you purchase a new car, there’s a good chance it will come with digital radio. A total of 91,900 new vehicles were sold with DAB+ installed in Australia in the first quarter of 2016, bringing the total number of vehicles on the radio with DAB+ to 553,000.
The good news is we are now seeing digital radio available in more mass market cars and not just in the luxury end of the market.
Honda has included DAB+ for the first time in the new Honda Civic released in Australia in mid June, and Mazda is expected to include DAB+ in the CX9 to be released in July.
Here are some other interesting facts illustrating the momentum of digital radio in the market:
The top five highest-rating commercial DAB+ only stations during the period were: Coles Radio, Triple M Classic Rock, hit music station Edge Digital, chillout station Buddha and The 80s iHeartRadio (formerly Pure Gold 80s).
Listeners can look forward to more choice, with a number of new digital stations coming on air. Recent developments include the launch of a Greek-language station in Melbourne called Rythmos, Southern Cross Austereo’s launch of two new stations – Oldskool Radio and Easy Radio; and the announcement that it will partner with the Seven Network to create a new DAB+ pop-up station for the Olympic Games called 7 Rio Live, which will run live audio simulcast during the event.
Australia’s first 24/7 digital sports radio network, EON Sports Radio, will also launch in July. The station will broadcast major sports such as the A League soccer and NBL, plus will be the exclusive Australian audio broadcaster of the English Premier League.
For more information on digital radio in Australia, visit www.digitalradioplus.com.au.