EXCLUSIVE: Digital Radio in Syndey has not been turned on and is still running on test transmitters despite consumers being told by retailers that digital radio transmissions are at full strength.
The full transmission of a digital radio signal was scheduled to be turned on in Sydney on May 30 2009. Already Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane have full transmission.
According to Commercial Radio Australia, a full digital radio signal will not be available till the end of the month due to interruptions caused by constant “bad weather in New South Wales”.
Joan Warner the head of Commercial Radio Australia told SmartHouse that consumers will able to pick a digital signal in Sydney however it will only be a half strength due to it being transmitted from a temporary tower.
“We anticipate a full signal by the end of the month. Commercial radio would be on low power for two weeks then go into interference mode.” she said.
“In the first few weeks technical aspects of the infrastructure will be finalised which have been delayed because of the weather and DAB+ broadcasting will be at 12.5kw. We will then go into variable power for interference assessment and remediation – low overnight and full during the day – with the aim of being on full power by 1 July”. she said
“As Sydney is densely populated with many high rise buildings the variable power stage of the Interference Management Scheme (IMS) may continue a little longer than in other states so that any issues can be addressed.”
“In the first few weeks in the other switch on cities we broadcast in interference test mode – lower power at night and higher during the day – without any major issues. Following this phase we added high power over the weekends and then, in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane have moved onto full power at all times. However, Sydney’s unique topography will mean we will remain in interference at low power for a little longer than in other states,” said Ms Warner.
Retailers at both Dick Smith and Harvey Norman today showed SmartHouse several new digital radio models from Bush Grundig and Pure and on each occasions we were told that digital radio in Sydney was now transmitting at full strength.
Ironically, the ABC who have the biggest radio audience in Sydney and New South Wales over multipe stations will not start digital radio transmissions till 1 July 2009, just in time for full power transmission.