Commercial radio press release: Many of Australia’s leading retailers and manufacturers of digital radio products have joined forces to ensure a united effort in launching digital radio onto the Australian commercial market later this year.

Meeting for the first time with radio industry executives yesterday in Sydney, Australia’s leading retailers and manufacturers have formed the Broadcasters, Retailers and Receiver Manufacturers Digital Radio Advisory Group, which will meet on a monthly basis to discuss strategy for the launch of digital radio

The group includes senior representatives from retailers Harvey Norman, Domayne, Clive Peeters, Dick Smith and manufacturers like Philips, Samsung, Yamaha, Revo, Bush Australia and Pure Australasia. Other leading retailers such as Bing Lee, Target, Myer, David Jones, Strathfield Group and JB Hi Fi have also been invited to join the group as have other manufacturers including Panasonic, TEAC, Sony, Pioneer and JVC.

Broadcasters from the major networks involved in the launch including Austereo, DMG, ARN and Sky Racing also attended to outline the broadcasters’ position.

Chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, Joan Warner said discussions at the inaugural meeting focussed on the marketing and communications plan for digital radio, information on training and education for retailers as well as product availability and price.

“Overseas experience shows us that for digital radio to succeed the radio industry must work closely with retailers and manufacturers to ensure everyone is well prepared for the digital switch-on,” Ms Warner said.

“It is a significant feat bringing retailers and manufacturers together, particularly those with competitive commercial interests, but it is essential that discussions on a uniform approach to timelines and various issues, like training and marketing have begun.“

Ms Warner said the industry wanted to communicate with all stakeholders in the lead-up to the digital switch-on date, but manufacturers and retailers were essential for a successful start.

“This is essentially the launch of a new technology so there is lots to be discussed both now and in coming months – training for retailers is vital and we are well underway in developing training modules and content for retailers’ own training programs. Equally how everyone fits in the overall launch of the technology and ensuring we all work together is crucial,” Ms Warner said.
She said an important issue discussed at the meeting was the tracking of receiver sales to provide critical feedback to all those involved in the launch of digital radio.