Will internet kill the digital radio star?

Will internet kill the digital radio star?

Summary: Next month digital radio will be rolled out in most Australian capital cities. But is it too little, too late? Is the real future for radio moving online?

TOPICS: Government AU

Next month digital radio will be rolled out in most Australian capital cities. With a DAB+ digital radio receiver you will be able to listen to crystal clear radio, with additional program associated data. There will also be a few extra channels.

Last night DMG launched dance station NovaNation and chill-out channel Koffee. Earlier in the year Austereo launched its Radar channel, playing new and unsigned artists. All these channels are currently streaming online.

But is digital radio too little too late? Is the real future for radio moving online? Could we soon be driving around listening to internet radio in our cars? Does the internet provide greater opportunity for choice and listener involvement? And what can we learn from the UK experience, where digital radio has been around for a while?

In this 40-minute episode of Twisted Wire you'll hear from:

Read more about digital radio here. Will digital radio take off? Add your views in the Talkback section below.

Topic: Government AU


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • Radio?

    What's this 'Radio' you speak of??
    The only radio I have is in my car. It only ever comes on if I accidentally plug the USB stick in too late. It switches to radio, which is when I quickly hit the source button to go back to USB.

    Radio is dead.
    Radio makes me want to break something. Its so in your face with the ads and announcers screaming all over you. I would prefer to have my interruption free MP3 music.
  • Try ABC, dude

    Ad-free, idiot-free (well, not talking about guests) plus great range of material -- local (in Sydney, 702), national (576) and pure news (630). Brain food for the non-brain dead.
    Apart from that, like the man said: digital radio? Yep, too little and far, far too late. Bit like the skinny soy decaff -- why bother?
  • Internet Radio

    I believe Internet Radio is the future. You don't really need a high bandwidth to listen to radio on the net. Even a wireless broadband connection can handle Internet Radio with no problems.

    Internet killed the digital radio star,
    Internet killed the digital radio star,
    Packets came and broke your heart,
    So put all the blame on Kevin Rudd! LMAO!!
  • Internet Radio In the US

    Latest Arbitron data shows 17% of those in the US listen to Internet radio each week - and 27% each month. But people over there are listening to the radio less, thanks to the iPod.

  • Digital radio, why?

    Digital radio in Australia is very much too little, too late. I don't even posses an AM-capable receiver any more, and the FM-capable receivers I have are simply an unused feature on devices with a different primary function (e.g. my mobile phone).

    The increasing value of mobile broadband will mean that Internet Radio will quickly become as easily available as terrestrial radio is today. Until then, the on-demand nature of podcasts fill the gap nicely.
  • Internet radio rocks!

    Unless a DAB compatible radio comes with my next car, I probably won't even pay much notice to DAB. My Bush Internet Radio gets much more use than anything else in the house and on the road it is the Ipod tho I prefer a bit of ABC radio every now and then.

    Too late to care about digital radio here in Aust anyway. We'll get limited content anyway for a rather costly investment. I really wish we'd get something like Sirius/XMRadio here instead...the content on this satellite based radio is definitely worth the subscription.
  • Annoy the old people while the young don't give a damn

    I don't get it...

    Do you think the older generations (who I'm thinking are the large majority of radio listeners) are going to love having to go out and purchase new equipment for this??

    While the younger generation are all over radio over the web, podcasts and the like.

    like a lawnmower on Astroturf....
  • internet radio?

    maybe its time for a new name as it's hardly radio if its delivered as TCP/IP. They are just progam services, delivering a certain style of content to subscribers.
  • Digital radio

    Interesting, if uninformed, comments on the number of people in all age demographics that listen to radio - younger dmos are listening for longer than they did a few years ago and reach into younger age groups for commercial radio is up to 84% in some cities. Commentators' defence/promotion of internet-only radio seems a bit too vigorous ... protesting too much ???? Free to air digital radio will be a success over time in Australia and is also being rolled out across the world. By the way, commentators need to look at the breakdown of listening to radio on the Internet quoted - a large amount of it is at work to current free to air broadcast stations which also stream on the net. Why? Because radio broadcasters believe in making their services available in as many devices and on as many platforms as possible. Why? Our listeners want their current services to be as ubiquitous on digital platforms as they are on analog - whether they are commerical or ABC/SBS or community stations. Listening habits of a few to the currently comparatively hard to receive, not so mobile, bandwidth hungry internet-only radio will not impact on the 97% of Australians who listen to, and love, free to air broadcast radio. Movies, TV, cassette recorders, videos, CDs and MP3 players have not killed the rado star. Nor will the Internet - but it will, and has already, extended our reach and enhanced our relationship with our listeners - as will digital radio.
  • Still trying to work out the benefits

    Digital radio is almost TV-like in its service delivery and replaces technology that has until now survived where most other technologies have long ago been converted to digital.

    Digital radios will come with a screen that will display information such as the song that is currently playing and maybe the weather and the like though people usually turn on the radio for the purpose of listening and not looking.

    I'm not against the conversion to digital though I'm not convinced that the mad rush by the government will be coupled with enough benefits. The uptake will be almost DVD-like too. Look at all the cars out there which will never have their radio replaced.
  • Sirius XM

    In case Anonymous (Internet radio rocks) hasn't noticed, satellite radio in the US has been a monumental failure - churn at the end of free subscriptions handed out was/is enormous, highly paid free to air TV and radio stars failed to bring their listeners with them and both companies were near collapse when their regulator allowed a merge. The jury is out on whether even this will save them. Cost of satellite braodcasting is very high and it either needs to take ads or rely on subscriptions.
  • When did I promote Internet-only radio stations - I was talking about the delive

    Not sure I was promoting Internet-only radio. My main point was in relation to the delivery mechanism - will the internet be more prevelant than digital radio, even for existing stations. Will we find internet car radios supersede digital radios before they get any traction in the market? I didn't make any promotion of internet only radio stations in my piece. Sorry if I didn't make the case clear enough.
  • Internet ony stations

    Hi Phil - you didn't promote Internet only radio but a couple of your interviewees did - I thought your piece was very balanced and gave everyone a fair hearing.