The new sound of the airwaves is gaining momentum, with more radio stations now broadcasting in digital and more DAB+ equipment in stores. Anthony Fordham surfs the digital radio landscape.

Good things come to those who wait. At least, that’s the message from Commercial Radio Australia as digital radio completes its initial roll-out to capital cities across the country.

It means more channels, more features, but most of all it means no more terrible, terrible AM sound from your favourite talk stations – stations that make up nearly 50 percent of Australia’s radio audience.

If you’ve been holding off on a digital radio purchase because all you could pick up were test broadcasts, take heart. Commercial and national broadcasters are on the air now, with simulcasts of many FM and AM stations, and several entirely new channels.

Digital stations

First, the familiar: ABC broadcasts the now confusingly-named Classic FM, NewsRadio, Radio National, Grandstand and the capital city station (such as 702 Sydney or 891 Adelaide) as simulcasts with traditional AM and FM channels. Triple J too now has a digital simulcast.

New stations include ABC Dig Music, ABC Country and ABC Jazz, which until now have been broadcast using the digital TV network, receivable only as a ‘radio’ channel on a TV or set-top box. Meanwhile, SBS broadcasts its national radio service, simulcast with its existing FM and AM services.

Your new DAB+ radio can also tune in to the major commercial networks – simulcasts of familiar FM and AM stations in your capital city are up now, such as Sydney’s 2GB and Melbourne’s 3AW. The major FM music stations are there too, including MIX, Nova, Fox/2Day and Triple M.