Funding problems at the ABC will result in the Government backed broadcaster who also attracts the biggest radio audience in Australia not participating in the May roll out of Digital Radio in Australia.

Instead the ABC will look at launching their digital radio offering in August according to the Australian newspaper. In the meantime the commercial AM radio stations that are desperate to get their “talk” format up on digital radio will start promoting the service in May 2009.

“We’re still bringing our first services on in test mode in late April and the rest coming through in May,” Austereo’s director of technologies and chairman of the Digital Technical Advisory Committee Des DeCean told the Australian newspaper.
“We’ve always talked about it being a unified approach and we feel the ABC brings completeness to the suite of radio services; likewise SBS, which addresses so many different sectors. We’re comfortable with where we’re going.”

The ABC confirmed that funding issues meant it had missed some slots in the transmitter-manufacturing schedule and as a consequence would not be able to transmit its Local Radio network, Radio National, Classic FM, NewsRadio and three Dig music channels until June, with all on air from July 1.

“We’ve got a few other things on the books that we’ve proposed to Government,” ABC Radio head of development Russell Stendell said.

The ABC is expected to offer a sports channel that would allow Local Radio to continue broadcasts during cricket and football coverage and an urban or other spin-off channel from Triple J.

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