99.1 WSFM Hawkesbury transmitter currently off air.
Will all regional commercial radio licensees apply for this? I think so, just the beginning of their problems.
Well, there’s one thing to be said for the relative sanctuary of Digital Radio with its specialist stations after a quick FM bandscan…
90.9 News Radio - discussion about Coronavirus
92.5 ABC Central Coast - another discussion about Coronavirus
92.9 ABC Classic - Coronavirus safety message
94.1 Today’s Country - another Coronavirus safety message
I might sound like I have some sort shares in SWR but Busco has brought back an hour of Aussies song on his breakfast show. Which is good. He said it supports the Aussie artists.
Forget the tapes as a kid, I just made my own actual station!
and if you after dance music http://starterfm.com
ACMA report provides roadmap for the future of radio in Australia
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a new report that lays out its priorities for the future delivery of radio and underlines the vital importance of radio to Australian audiences.
The Future delivery of radio report outlines how the ACMA will prioritise the provision of spectrum to best assist broadcasters to serve the Australian community.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the ACMA is focused on how Australia can get the most out of its valuable but limited broadcasting frequencies, particularly for FM and digital radio.
“Radio plays a critical role in providing news and informing communities in times of emergencies, as we saw during the bushfires and are seeing now with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms O’Loughlin.
“We know that the radio industry needs to evolve in response to new technology and changing audience preferences, and the spectrum that the ACMA manages is a key part of that evolution.
“We have worked with all parts of the radio sector to understand their views on the future delivery of radio. And in response we are prioritising the frequency planning options that will assist radio broadcasters to make the best choices about their future service delivery,” she said.
The ACMA priorities outlined in the report include the continued transitioning of commercial, community and national services in regional areas from AM to FM where spectrum is readily available, arrangements to allow further rollout of digital radio where this is feasible, coverage improvements for national, commercial and community broadcasting where spectrum is available and support for trials of new types of broadcasting technology.
“These priorities will guide our work and we intend to consult further with the radio industry on a work program each year through our Five-Year Spectrum Outlook,” she said.
The Future Delivery of Radio Project was established by the ACMA to ask Australian broadcasters and audio content providers about emerging technologies, the impact on their businesses and the choices these create for the radio industry, including how radio will be delivered to audiences in the future
Going to dive through this report today - starting with some of the findings on pages 2 and 3 I think are of note:
Digital radio - DAB+ and DRM
Finding 8 DAB+ remains the industry preferred long-term digital platform, given the level of investment to date. However, there are mixed views about the cost–benefit of DAB+ outside the capital cities. In the short to medium term, DAB+ is likely to rollout where a commercial licence area can be served with a cost-effective number of transmitters, and/or market pressures require it.
Finding 14 Small-scale DAB+ is not feasible as a digital delivery platform for the FM sub-metropolitan community services because there is insufficient spectrum to accommodate all such services in a metropolitan area.
Finding 15 Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) for VHF-FM is suited to replicating the coverage of FM radio. It could be evaluated as a potentially more scalable and cost-effective solution for localised digital radio.
Finding 16 DRM for AM (also called DRM30) can match the coverage of high-power AM services. Hybrid chipsets, which include DRM for AM chipsets, are available and are being produced and installed in cars at scale for the Indian market.
Finding 11 AM to FM conversions will increase the demand for FM spectrum. There is insufficient FM spectrum to convert every AM transmission to FM.
Finding 12 Unused spectrum planned in licence area plans is generally of limited utility for AM to FM conversions. Whether such spectrum is best repurposed can be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Reading the above report, some interesting points on Page 34:
Develop with industry a sub-program for regional competitive licence area conversions, to commence when the solus market program is complete, most likely in 2020–21.
Continue to progress to public consultation our work on the potential for replanning the Perth FM band to potentially enable conversion of all commercial and national radio broadcasting services to FM. This could overcome Perth’s unique geographic circumstances, which result in poor AM propagation.
On the last point, this would mean that 6iX & 6PR could convert to FM, in which I could see the former move to 105.7 (which they currently use for its Wanneroo & Rockingham translators) & the latter move to 106.5 (which was originally allocated to them in the early 2000s for its translators before instead deciding to increase the ERP of its main AM service from 2kW to 10kW). This would see Perth having the same number of commercial FM stations as Sydney & Melbourne.
104.1 is another FM frequency that would become available for a high-power FM service, which would be for an ABC radio service. 103.3 & 104.9 are currently being used for a 50 watt HPON service serving Perth City.
Also of note:
Other than in Perth (and potentially Adelaide), we do not intend to use our resources to currently consider FM conversions in the metropolitan licence areas.
Adelaide would become the next metro market after Perth to have an AM station convert to FM. This would see Cruise convert to FM & probably adopt WS/Gold’s “Better Music & More Of It” format, allowing Mix 102.3 to move more towards KIIS’ CHR format. Cruise already rates very well on AM, outrating two SCA FM stations, so them moving to FM would see their ratings being enhanced, potentially taking out #1 overall.
This came as no surprise to me, as I mentioned here (digital radio thread) a few weeks ago, DAB+ isn’t the preferred industry digital platform, it’s the preferred platform for CRA, but no one else, & it’s not in the best interests of the commercial stations they supposedly represent.
CBAA, ABC/SBS & even ACMA would prefer DRM, even the head engineer who designs the DAB+ network for CRA said to me DRM should be used in Australia, definitely regionally, but it’s dirty word & don’t mention it around CRA.
In the short, medium or long term, DAB+ won’t roll out to regional areas, because CRA thought ABC/SBS would pay for all the TX’s & they’d piggyback on the mux, but ABC said get stuffed, if we do it we’ll be using our own Nationals only mux on 9C, & the commercial stations regionally can’t afford the costs to do DAB+ on their own, in a lot of cases the one company (solus markets) footing the bill for an entire mux with very little content on it.
There’s no way SCA can afford that now, & hell will freeze over before the Government pays for it, with all the debt they’ve got now, propping up the economy from Coronavirus.
Wow this is really unfair to Brisbane!
The 3rd biggest city in the country stuck with only 4 commercial FM stations. Brisbane is almost twice the size of Adelaide.
Maybe if the FM band wasn’t so congested in South East Queensland (along with Sydney, Melbourne and their surrounding areas), the idea of converting more Brisbane stations from AM to FM would be considered.
Personally, I think the DAB+ services in Perth (and Adelaide if they too also do FM conversions) might as well be switched off if they’re going to convert all commercial and national stations to FM!
I don’t agree with that. Go from 40 or so commercial stations down to 6?
That’s the main advantage of DAB+: The extra stations, rather than having the AM/FM stations simulcast on DAB+, even though the AM music stations sound better on DAB+.
Back to Perth, it’s worth noting that 6iX & 6PR wanted full-power FM conversions as far back as 1998, even before 93.7 was being considered for a 4th commercial FM licence. The ABA has considered the request, but then decided not to grant the conversions, in which instead they may bid for an FM frequency during any price-based allocation process. As a compromise, 6iX & 6PR proposed to have FM translators in Wanneroo & Rockingham on 105.7 & 106.5 respectively. Only 6iX went ahead with the FM translators, whilst 6PR decided not to proceed.
Back then, there were TV services on VHF 3 & 5 from Bunbury, which limited the availability of the FM spectrum in Perth, particularly for high-powered metro-wide services. Since those services were switched off in June 2013 as part of the analogue TV switch-off, the FM spectrum on the lower (88-92 MHz) & upper (102-108 MHz) ends of the band has been freed up. This opened the opportunity for ACMA to consider 6iX & 6PR on finally having full-power FM conversions that they’ve been wanting for over 20 years.
This will be a shame. They should keep the winning formula.
I agree, but that’s the reality of a commercial AM music station converting to FM these days.
At least 2CA & 4KQ are not very likely to convert to FM anytime soon.
I agree entirely, but as it’s been said, there’s no room on the FM dial for another high-power station in Brisbane/SEQ. Unless that is tidied up and fixed, we won’t see another one here anytime soon
That’s another reason I say CRA are irrelevant & should be disbanded, to representing the commercial broadcasters they are supposed to, they only beat their own drum about how good they are, when really they’re not.
TV went to the Federal Comms Minister 2 maybe 3 weeks ago before any body started to be shut down, & were granted exemption from lockdowns, most only have key staff working at the studios, & the studios themselves are locked down, but those key staff will be able to travel where & when they need to.
Commercial radio was probably included in this anyway, as all media are essential service outlets to be able to get the information needed out to the masses, but CRA had to make a media release about it, when everyone else is just getting on with the job at hand.
Things like this are really only CRA trying to justify & save their own jobs, not helping anyone else.