Last update: 21-06-2018 - older versions
DAB+ launched in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in late 2009, followed by Canberra and Darwin in 2017.
DAB+ digital radio is continuing to grow in popularity, gaining 168,000 listeners to reach 3.6 million in the five metropolitan capital cities, according to the latest digital radio report by GfK.
The total number of DAB+ digital radios in Australia has now reached 3.4 million, including over 800,000 in-car units, as well as portable digital radios and home receivers sold through retailers.
PwC projects that close to 4 million new vehicles fitted with DAB+ will be sold by the end of 2021, up from 862,426 at the end of 2016.
In 2017, LG brought the world’s first smartphone with in-built DAB+ broadcast digital radio to Australia.
Last update: 21-06-2018 - older versions
There are 3.52 million people listening to digital radio in the five state metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. 26.3% of listening to radio is now via a DAB+ digital radio device in the five state metropolitan capitals with Time Spent Listening (TSL) to radio via a DAB+ digital radio at more than double that of internet listening.
DAB+ low power trials which commenced in 2010 in Canberra and Darwin continue, this includes a retransmission of the Canberra services inside Parliament House. In December 2016 it was announced by CRA that Canberra, Darwin and Hobart will be the next in line for permanent DAB+ digital radio services, with commercial radio broadcasters welcoming the ABC’s announcement that it intends to extend services into the three capital cities.
The Australian Government released in July 2015 a report, prepared by the Department of Communications, on digital radio services in Australia. The Digital Radio Report recommended the establishment of a Digital Radio Planning Committee for Regional Australia, to be chaired by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, to focus on the rollout of digital radio to regional areas.
The Government expects that the Planning Committee would give priority to the licensing of permanent digital radio services in Canberra and Darwin, where trials have been underway since 2010, before planning the rollout in new areas of Australia.
The report also recommended that the Government should provide a simpler, more flexible process for planning and licensing of digital radio in regional Australia. The Planning Committee may provide an appropriate forum to develop proposals to simplify the regulatory framework.
Commercial Radio Australia is pleased to note the signal of support for regional DAB+ rollout in the report.
The report is available at: https://communications.gov.au/publications/digital-radio-report
Last update: 21-06-2018 - older versions
In this country there are
- Regional multiplexes: 13 Regular and 2 Trial
A full listing of the services on air in Australia is available at http://www.digitalradioplus.com.au/.
CRA reports 139 stations are broadcasting on DAB+ in Australia, with up to 30 DAB+ only stations in each mainland state capital city. There are currently 13 regular regional multiplexes and 2 trial regional multiplexes on air broadcasting nearly 210 DAB+ services between them, with most multiplex delivering 18 or more services. There are 74 radio stations on AM/FM in the five capital cities, counting commercial, ABC and SBS but not community stations.
Almost all stations in Australia are using slideshow and all are delivering dynamic scrolling text.
There is no format restriction for Australian DAB+ services, so stations can develop new formats and test the audience’s interest in these digital only services. Stations include dance, children’s programming, chill, 80s, 90s, classic, jazz, indie and world music as well as sport and talk. Pop up stations have been used for cultural celebrations, anniversaries of major events, floods and emergencies. Revenue is being made on branded radio stations for retail clients and advertisers and state capital city. All services have DAB+ broadcast text and slideshow data included, with many stations having track now playing, news and weather information, as well as advertisements in their slideshow broadcasts. At least one ensemble in each city is broadcasting an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).
A report by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) and written by Professor Reg Coutts, found that mobile broadband communications networks, particularly in regional areas, are not a replacement for broadcast free to air radio.
The Coutts Report highlights that mobile networks in regional Australia are less cost effective compared to a potential DAB+ digital radio rollout in regional areas. Even with upgraded 4G networks using the most advanced LTE broadcast mode, there are technical and economic reasons for radio to be delivered using free to air broadcast technology in both regional and metropolitan areas.
The Coutts report cleared up a lot of misperceptions around the future of broadcast radio, mobile networks and the delivery of radio online showing it may not yet, or even in the longer term, be technically or financially viable.
Key findings are listed below and the full Coutts Report is available at www.digitalradioplus.com.au
Digital radio station Innovation
Australian broadcasters have innovated with the use of event or pop up stations which are digital stations that exist for a short period of time to allow for flexible niche programming that can highlight an event, a festival or artist. They can be used for generating additional revenue, broadcasting emergency service warnings during fire or the recent Queensland floods and also for broadcasting sports or music events. For example Elf Radio plays Christmas songs throughout the festive season and the Chemist Warehouse station was established specifically for an advertising client and that station has been so successful for the broadcaster and client that it will continue on air.
Coles supermarkets and Nova Entertainment have signed a major partnership to digitally stream Coles Radio to over 750 stores - reaching over 14 million customers nationally, every week. Using the Coles digital network, Coles Radio is set up to enhance the customer in-store experience with a rich music format offering an extensive playlist that is tailored to the time of day. Read the press release here.
|Simulcast on AM / FM||Exclusive on digital||Total of services|
Last update: 30-10-2018 - older versions
More than 1.98 million new vehicles have been sold in Australia with DAB+ digital radio factory fitted, since the adoption of DAB+ in vehicles in Australia in 2011. Forty four automotive brands now offer DAB+ digital radio as a standard or optional feature, with further announcements expected over the next 12 months.
More than 560,000* new vehicles were sold with DAB+ factory fitted in 2017. This figure is expected to grow as vehicle manufacturers extend support across their range. Almost half (47%) of all new vehicles sold in Australia during the past 12 months had DAB+ digital radio factory fitted as standard or option.
When purchasing your next new vehicle, be sure to ask the dealer whether it comes with DAB+ digital radio. Brands supporting DAB+ digital radio in Australia include:
DAB+ digital radio is now available as standard in popular vehicles such as the Toyota Camry, Ford Focus and Nissan X-Trail.
As broadcast radio continues to be the most robust platform, simultaneously used by millions of drivers every day, Commercial Radio Australia works closely with vehicle manufacturers in Australia and overseas and encourages their continued support for AM & FM as well as DAB+ digital radio in vehicle in-car infotainment systems.
With nearly 33%** of all radio listening in car, and rapid adoption of DAB+ by vehicle manufacturers it has now become a matter of public safety that tunnel operators support DAB+ digital radio.
DAB+ digital radio in car reception maps are available to download. These show the current coverage of DAB+ and provide a guide as to where your DAB+ radio is expected to receive good signal. Terrain may provide some small black spots within these coverage areas, but in general DAB+ reception should be good. The red line indicates the licence area where coverage is intended. Plans to infill black spots in coverage are underway.
Currently analogue (AM/FM) signals are re-broadcast into tunnels. This is the responsibility of the tunnel operators. There is currently no in-tunnel rebroadcasting of the DAB+ signal but this can be revisited as more DAB+ enabled radios are available in cars.
* Glass’s Automotive Business Intelligence Dec 2017, Total sales figures supplied by vehicle manufacturers in Australia supporting DAB+ Digital Radio, January 2014
** GfK Radio Ratings, Survey 1-8 2017. Total people 10+ years Mon-Sun, Midnight to Midnight unless otherwise stated - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth
Last update: 02-08-2018 - older versions
The latest figures from Commercial Radio Australia show that DAB+ listening and sales of digital receivers are currently exceeding expectations. 3.6 million listeners or just over 27% of people in the five state capitals where DAB+ is available, are listening via DAB+.
• November 21 the Australian radio industry launched RadioApp
• It provides access to more than 250 live and local Australian radio stations from around the country – public & commercial
• All DAB+, AM & FM stations will be easily accesible via the app on smartphones, tablets etc
Many mobile phones include FM radio and radio stations have created apps to enable listeners to listen to AM, FM and DAB+ stations via mobile stream. CRA is working internationally with other broadcasters, telcos, handset manufacturers and organisations to ensure that, just as for FM, a DAB+ chip will become standard in mobile phones to enable listeners to access all stations via DAB+ free to air broadcast. Increasingly hybrid radio will offer broadcasters greater opportunities to connect with their listeners and clients in real time.
The LG Stylus DAB+ Smartphone (LGK520K) is available to purchase here. The LG Stylus DAB+ is the number one selling LG smartphone in Australia in 2016.
For a list digital radios available on the Australian market please visit
Last update: 11-04-2017 - older versions
Canberra, Darwin and Hobart will be the next in line for permanent DAB+ digital radio services. Commercial broadcasters are working closely with the ABC and SBS on the regional rollout plans. Digital radio was launched in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in 2009. Commercial broadcasters Capital Radio and Canberra FM have been running trial digital radio services in Canberra for some years and Grant Broadcasters has also been on air in Darwin on a trial basis.
Commercial broadcasters are working with public broadcasters on coordinating launch dates, with permanent digital radio services in Canberra and Darwin expected to start in 2017 and Hobart in 2018.
The radio industry is committed to a digital broadcast future via DAB+ combined with and complemented by online. This is especially important in terms of spectrum efficiency and operational costs. CRA will continue to discuss financial support with the Federal Government for DAB+ rollout into regions as was provided to the television industry for its digital switchover. As the major electronic mediums, radio and television must receive equal treatment from the Government to ensure optimum services in regional Australia and more diversity and choice for regional Australians.
Last update: 21-06-2018 - older versions
Key features of the current regulation for digital radio in metropolitan Australia are:
- Band III
- No cost for spectrum or licences while analogue is operating
- 128 kb per existing commercial/private analogue station
- No end date for licences
- Commercial broadcasters have their own multiplexes in each of the current five large markets
- Public service broadcasters have their own multiplex
- First option for broadcasters – not a third party – to own the licence for the multiplex
- No new DAB+ only operators for six years from date of switch on in each market
- No format restrictions for existing operators or limits on new DAB+ only stations on what they can offer
- No restriction on amount of data allowed
- No analogue switch off date agreed as yet
- In smaller regions, it may be that public service and commercial broadcasters share a multiplex to keep costs down
- 11 on-channel repeaters are licenced and rollout commenced.
The Federal Government has allocated 14 megahertz of spectrum in the VHF Band III 3 channels of which are used in the capital cities and the remaining 8 will be planned for the rollout of DAB+ digital radio to regional areas. The ACMA has completed a restack of Band III and UHF spectrum following the switch off of analogue television at the end of 2013.
As part of the Minister’s recommended Joint Digital Radio Planning Group, CRA is working with the public and community broadcasters, the Department of Communications and the the regulatory body ACMA a to enable the most cost effective and most efficient use of the available spectrum for the regional rollout of DAB+ digital radio.
The current regulatory framework in the five state metropolitan capitals allocates each incumbent broadcaster with permanent DAB+ services an entitlement to a minimum of 128kbit/s (1/9 multiplex) and a maximum of 256kbit/s (1/5 multiplex). Given the likelihood of shared multiplexes in regional Australia, these allocations may change in the first phase of regional rollout to accommodate a single shared multiplex.
Last update: 21-06-2018 - older versions
The awareness of digital radio continues to improve as a result of the brand awareness campaigns and retail promotions. A number of on-air radio, online and social media campaigns run across the 42 commercial metropolitan stations and digital only stations each year. The primary objective of these campaigns is to promote and educate listeners about the key benefits of DAB+ digital radio, including improved sound quality and greater station choice.
Five Reasons to Upgrade to DAB+
The campaign likens the switch to DAB+ to the transition of TV from analogue to digital, and focuses on the benefits of upgrading, including better sound quality and extra stations.
Digital Radio. It's the Box You Can't Beat
Building on the highly successful previous Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas digital radio campaigns, a series of four radio ads and a video (below), were played across all DAB+ digital radio stations plus 42 commercial stations in the five state metropolitan markets of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Last update: 13-08-2015 - older versions
Bushfires and floods are regularly experienced in Australia. A pop up station, 4TAB FLOOD was put on air to offer information and advice to the people of Queensland during serious flooding which affected large populations. CRA and the trial broadcasters in Canberra and Darwin have been working closely to standardise feeds into a broadcast aggregator using feeds from the Emergency Management agencies and the Bureau of Meteorology to source and appropriately escalate information for display over broadcast text and slideshow. This allows DAB+ to offer potentially lifesaving information simultaneously to the public over robust, free to air networks using the low powered DAB+ receivers in the home or car.
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|Line-fit automotive sales (cumulative):||1,987,475 devices|
|New cars with DAB/DAB+ as standard:||60%|
|Total Sales (cumulative):||4,444,000 devices|
|Penetration by household:||48%|
Last update: 30.10.2018
Useful LinksABC Radio
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU)
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
A technical look at digital radio