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Commercial Radio Australia and Grant Broadcasters announced that a trial of DAB+ digital radio would begin in the Northern Territory capital of Darwin from today.According to Commercial Radio Australia, Hot 100 and Mix 104.9 and a digital only service called Top Country NT will begin broadcasting in DAB+ from the start of the trial and an additional new digital only station will follow shortly.

Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer, Joan Warner said the trial in Darwin indicated how enthusiastic regional commercial broadcasters are to provide digital radio services to their clients and listeners.

“The family owned and operated Grant Broadcasters has been a leader in local regional radio for more than 60 years and is representative of the enthusiasm for, and interest in,  DAB+ digital radio in regional areas,” said Ms Warner.

Director of Grant Broadcasters, Grant Cameron said: “We are supporting the digital radio trial to ensure the people of Darwin get to experience the benefits of digital radio first hand. We are excited to be able to offer additional multi-channeling and data to our listeners as part of the trial.”

“We also want to demonstrate to Canberra that people and broadcasters in regional Australia are just as interested in digital radio as those in the five capital cities that have already been given the right to have permanent digital radio services,” added Mr Cameron.

The signal will be at relatively low power for the trial and in the first couple of weeks there may be minor interruptions as the start up procedures are fined tuned but it is still expected to cover a large part of Darwin and will be broadcast from Broadcast Australia’s Deloraine Road transmission tower.   

Leading retailers Harvey Norman and Dick Smith will be supporting the digital radio trial in Darwin by stocking DAB+ radios to allow Darwin listeners to sample the new trial services but consumers will need to remember that until the Government commits to making provision for DAB+ digital outside of the five major cities, these services will remain trial services.

Other possible digital radio trial locations being considered are Townsville and Hobart.

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