Digital Radio


Will mention this to the powers at be today and see if it can be sorted


ACMA has released their Consultation Paper for a Digital Radio Channel Plan for Mandurah:


The consortium of West Coast Radio have since 6MM’s launch always had a interest in technology, associated companies to the directors have operated in technology/electronics, so it comes as no surprise that they have moved on promptly with digital radio.

I’ve had a quick read, the Word doc doesn’t include the coverage prediction map that we’ve seen for the other regional DRCPs.

What does everyone think of it?

The regional/metro inequity continues of metros enjoying omnidirectional coverage yet this isn’t reciprocated for adjacent licensees.

Digital radio should be on the same site/hill as FM and then equivalent to metro, omnidirectional.

If it’s fair one way, it surely is the other.

If this goes ahead, it’ll be nearing 11 years since digital began in Perth, that’s a long time to entrench listening habits of digital radio that the Mandurah licensee has been denied and disadvantaged.

ATV switch off was 2013? So we’re close to 6 years post restack with spectrum freed up.

How frustrating for the licensee, audience and clients.


Also, when I was last time in Mandurah back in October 2012, I could get the Perth DAB+ stations loud & clear on my handheld pocket DAB+ radio.

That’s correct. Perth switched ATV off in April that year, whilst Regional WA switched theirs off in June, freeing up VHF channels 3 (88-92 MHz) & 5 (102-108 MHz) in Bunbury, allowing 91.7 to be used for The Wave (formerly 6MM) in Mandurah when the AM-FM conversion program got underway.

Also, ACMA is proposing on re-planning the FM band in Perth.


DAB+ tests on 9A commenced in Hobart today.
Currently broadcasting a test tone, and testing various error correction rates and codec settings.



What about Bunbury? They could see Radiowest Triple M move to FM at long last?


Bunbury is not eligible for the AM-FM conversion, as it’s not a solus market. That said, I do agree that Triple M & Spirit should convert to FM.


Kind of seems a bit odd that Mandurah gets 2 blocks, the same as Perth?

Will be interesting to see what ABC Local station goes on DAB Mandurah.

Will it be 720 ABC Perth or 684 ABC South West (Bunbury)?


was actually up yesterday afternoon :slight_smile:


Does this Mean Perth will get another FM or AM Commercial Station?


Firstly, good on West Coast Radio for stepping forward - DAB+ won’t work in regional areas without there being strong buy in from the broadcasters, and putting their hand up as a first mover is a good step.

One that stands out to me is the allocation of 9C for the Category 3 multiplex, so I’m assuming that’s going to be in an SFN with the Perth transmitter. Mandurah is within the ABC Perth area so that makes sense - but I will be interested how they go about testing it without causing interference with the Perth broadcast, but this will be a good first test case given most future regional rollouts will have the same problem.

The 10kW is a good first step, as is the line “It is estimated that the level of overspill of digital radio from Mandurah into the neighbouring licence areas of Perth and Bunbury will approximate the current commercial FM signal.” - that to me is the correct measure, not trying to match the license area exactly.

Another item of note - to quote

The first principle (Planning Principle 1—Overall planning approach) states that ‘the planning of a licence should address the wider area through the development of a regional plan (indicative regional allotment plans) encompassing all areas which may be affected by the transmission in the target licence area’. These digital radio allotment plans were completed by the ACMA in 2018 for all regional areas and released to network engineers.

So the indicative allocation of frequencies has now happened, yet they will just trickle out in channel plans, rather than being released. How are members of the public supposed to be able to make informed contributions to a request for comment when underlying planning of frequency allotments isn’t available?

It’s not a huge deal, but it would be good to see how they plan to deal with the various log jams, in SEQ and around Sydney for example. Or even to know what markets have allotments in the first place.


It seems that any thought of merging regional licence areas for digital radio has passed? Wollongong and Nowra merging should be considered I think. I assume that for Grant there would be less cost as there would be less sites in a merged area than there would be with two adjacent licence areas??


Oh, really? Cool!

I tried a few times yesterday afternoon, but didn’t get anything. Must have been too late! :slight_smile:

Any idea when we’ll start seeing some actual channels on 9A?


Yeah but how many people physical radios these days? Not many I’d say other than the older demo. Most listening is done in cars.


It’s hard to say. But imo Perth needs another FM station. As does Brisbane, which is also being reviewed this year.


In this day and age, surely all new radio stations (aside from DAB+ services) for major markets will be on FM?

If the Wollongong & Nowra listening areas were merged for DAB+ (which I also personally think is a really good idea), Grant would probably have to sell off either Wave, Power or 2ST?


Off-Topic, if it comes to this, then Grant would most likely sell off Wave, with SCA the most likely buyer.


I would think they’d sell off 2ST, at least until that’s converted to FM.


If it was for Dab+ only then Grant would not be required to offload any of their stations as the two licence per LAP does not apply to Dab+ v Fm.

If we want to look at the best use of the spectrum for Dab+ the following licence areas should be merged-

Sydney / Campbelltown / Katoomba considering The Edge is already on Sydney Dab+ This would allow c91.3 onto the Sydney esembles.

Lithgow to overlap with Katoomba

Brisbane / Ipswich

Wollongong / Nowra and then can use Knights Hill which will provide dx opportunities into Sydney

Gold Coast / Mt Tamborine

Can anyone else think of any others?