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Australia launches digital radio regional awareness campaign

The commercial radio industry in Australia has launched a national information campaign urging listeners to support digital radio’s expansion into regional areas.

A nationwide radio and online banner advertising campaign began today urging listeners to register their support for digital radio expanding into regional Australia with local Members of Parliament, via a specially set-up website. The ad campaign will be run on more than 200 regional radio stations throughout Australia, targeting the estimated 6.9 million Australians who listen to commercial radio in regional Australia each week.

“Audiences in regional areas have expressed frustration that they do not have access to the quality and diversity of free to air digital broadcast radio services enjoyed by their metropolitan counterparts as a result of the roll-out of DAB+,” CEO of Commercial Radio Australia Ms Joan Warner said.

“Radio plays a particularly vital role in the regions with the provision of local news and local emergency services information, so it is very important we have free to air broadcast radio services that will take us into the future.

“DAB+ digital radio will result in a significant upgrade to towers and site infrastructure in regional Australia. The rollout will provide an opportunity for commercial and public service radio operators to provide a greater diversity of local radio programming in regional areas,” Ms Warner said.

The industry is seeking Federal assistance of around $500 million over a 16 year period to phase in digital radio services into major regional areas.  The funding, of which about 50% accounts for Australia’s public service broadcasters’ ABC and SBS facilities, will help cover infrastructure set-up and operational costs to service all regional licence areas.

Digital radio had been available to metropolitan areas of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with trials in Darwin and Canberra, for the past three years.