Digital Radio Getting Set For Big Launch

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It looks like time to throw out your old analog radio – digital radio is coming in 7 months – like it or not. And according to Joan Warner, Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Radio Australia, digital radio will place Australia at the forefront of world broadcasting.

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This statement follows the recent meeting between some of Australia’s biggest hitters in the advertising and radio who have combined to provide guidance for the industry about the introduction and implementation of digital radio, scheduled for early next year.

The Digital Radio Advertising Advisory Group (DRAAG), which met for the first time in Sydney yesterday, includes senior representatives from Starcom, Mitchell’s, Ikon Communications, Razor Media, Smart, Clemenger BBDO, OMD, Zenith Optimedia, Initiative, Carat, Maxus, Total Advertising and Communications, HMA Blaze, as well as representatives from key industry bodies such as the MFA and AANA.

Discussions at the inaugural meeting focused on a market update including the retailer strategy and a receiver manufacturers update, the brand and communication strategy for the digital radio launch; benefits for advertisers and feedback from the advertising agencies.

Chairman of Commercial Radio Australia, Michael Anderson, said the Digital Radio Advertising Advisory Group will help ensure that advertising agencies know exactly what to expect from digital radio, and allow important communication between the radio industry and advertising sectors.

 

According to Warner, the launch of digital radio, slated for January 1, 2009 will mean some huge changes for the industry- not least of which will include massive changes for listeners.
“There will be no more AM or FM- all digital radio stations will be streamed equally which means the quality and content will be improved”.

Furthermore notes Warner, the formation of DRAAG means that as of the second half of 2008, there will be an immense education process of not only media buyers, but radio consumer as well of the benefits of digital radio. “Our planning is on track and its time to start engaging our stakeholders”, she notes.

“It is imperative we work very closely with retailers and manufacturers of digital receivers to make sure the launch of digital radio next year delivers as promised to people in capital cities – a great experience that will forever improve the way we listen to radio. This is the first of several similar briefings to be held over the next few months”, Warner added.

For his part, Anderson says that, “This is a significant interface between the commercial radio industry and those at the forefront of advertising in this country. It’s about making the very most of this exciting medium, delivering maximum benefits to broadcasters, listeners and advertisers alike.”

 

Insofar as the brands of radio that will be available and their distributors, Warner says that she has been in discussions with a number of Tier-1 electronics companies, including Sony, Grundig and Yamaha as well as other digital radio makers such as the UK’s Pure. 

Furthermore, Warner says discussions have also taken place with the likes of Harvey Norman, who will be one of the main “but not sole sellers of digital radios”.

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