Three new channels and more to come for ABC Digital Radio | radioinfo

Three new channels and more to come for ABC Digital Radio

Thursday 02 July, 2009
Dig music programmer Stuart Matchett, Angela Catterns and ABC MD Mark Scott at the launch

The ABC has switched on its digital radio services in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, adding three brand new radio services to the ABC offering and simulcasting all its current analog services.

The ABC has brought its "brand strength" to promote and explain the new technology to listeners, with stations now running a series of promos for digital radio.

Noting the historic significance of the launch, ABC Managing Director Mark Scott reminded the audience that the national broadcaster has been there at the beginning of all new media technologies, even when the audiences were very small to begin with.

He told the large crowd gathered at a packed Cruise Bar on Sydney Harbour:

"The ABC sees digital radio as an opportunity to provide Australians with new content and more content, and to further enrich the media experience ABC audiences enjoy. With the success of iView and ABC Mobile behind us, with digital radio starting today and the new kids channel ABC3 ahead at Christmas, the ABC is continuing to reach more Australians in more ways than ever before."

The ABC will offer simulcasts of existing AM and FM stations in each city, along with three new music stations ABC Dig Music, ABC Jazz and ABC Country, which were previously available only online. Each station will be complemented by media-rich websites. A new sports channel which is still to be launched.

Speaking at the launch, Director of Radio Kate Dundas said:

"Digital Radio affords us the opportunity to deliver a greater variety of content and to present special event broadcasts, like our planned ball-by-ball uninterrupted coverage of the 2009 Ashes series. We foresee that our digital stations will offer many value-add opportunities for our listeners.

"Cricket fans in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide for instance can listen to full Ashes coverage from 8 July on a special ABC Grandstand digital radio channel when local stations are switching between cricket and football coverage."

ABC digital radio also offers the opportunity for alternative programming choices on networks such as ABC NewsRadio during parliamentary session broadcasts, and special event concert broadcasts from triple j and ABC Classic FM.

Dundas welcomed the new music services into the ABC broadcast family, telling the audience that digital radio was a story of persistence and passion within the national broadcaster. She congratulated colleagues in the Radio Division, and thanked her colleagues in Marketing, Technology and Legal for the collaboration in achieving the launch.

ABC Digital Radio transmissions will be managed by Broadcast Australia, which also has the contract to manage the ABC's analogue tv and radio transmissions.

Dundas says ABC Radio has the capacity to launch 3 or 4 more channels on its digital multiplex, and is currently identifying audience segments and looking for funding in its planning process for future digital stations.

A who's who of ABC radio staff attended the event, many of whom have worked on digital radio over the past 15 years since the corporation began planning for the new technology, including Chris Winter, Russell Stendell, Kathy Duff, Wendy McLeod, Tony Walker, Stuart Matchett and Mark Spurway amongst many others.

The morning was hosted by Robbie Buck with performances from Sarah Blasko, Paul Grabowsky and Jasmine Rae.

A range of Pure digital radios are available from the ABC Shop.

Launch photos below.


Jeremy Miller, Richard Morris and Steve James


Russell Stendell and Maragret Cassidy


Ian Walker and Mark Spurway

Robbie Buck and Sarah Blasko




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