For commercial radio digital radio will play a "complementary and supporting role"
DAB is a great digital radio platform. But it will never replace analog FM broadcasting in Australia. So said Ford Ennals, CEO of Australia’s Commercial Radio & Audio, during his “DAB Down Under” talk at the WorldDAB Summit 2023 in Munich, Germany. He is drawing the same conclusions as the government made already in 2015.
In Australia, we were a relative early adopter of DAB, said Ennals. 2009 I think we started. And it’s important, but it will never take the place of FM. I think there will be markets where DAB has an important role to play, but it’s a complementary and supporting role.
The reason is “the sheer scale of this country,” he explained. “Australia is a huge landmass. It’s about the same physical side as Europe if you take out Russia, yet our population is about the size of Benelux. that does give us real issues with coverage and reception.”
Despite these issues, DAB listenership has expanded since the service was launched, said Ennals. It’s about 20 percent of all listening to radio in Australia, with 200 stations on air and 67 percent of the population are covered.The biggest, most successful stations are the FM and AM stations, but some of the unique DAB-only stations are hugely successful and very innovative,” Ennals as reported by RadioWorld..
Already in 2015 the government concluded in a report that DAB+ should to be supplementary to analogue platforms. There are still no plans to close FM or AM (medium wave) broadcasting in Australia which is the only country outside Europe with established DAB broadcasting.