Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) announced that today significant progress has been made on the finalisation of innovative technical and advertising production specifications for the synchronisation of “visual” and audio components of DAB+ digital radio.

At the end of 2008 a set of draft specifications, proposed to Commercial Radio Australia by Fairfax Digital and Adstream, was distributed for comment and input from advertising creative directors, technical engineers, members of the digital radio advertising advisory group, and the digital technical advisory committee (DTAC).

This week, as commercial digital services are preparing to switch on across the country, a committee representing broadcasters and digital courier companies met to further develop and expand the draft specifications for the production of digital content.

Attending the meeting were representatives from ARN, Austereo, DMG, Fairfax Radio, as well as key digital courier companies; Adstream, Audionet, DubSat, Fairfax Digital, Music Point and DStar.

The aim of developing the new production specifications is to achieve an easy to use and reliable digital radio production distribution process that can be used within the industry and by external content creators such as creative and advertising agencies.

“Agreement was reached on the basic components of an effective set of specifications and the group will now finalise the industry specifications for distribution to all stakeholders in the next couple of months,” said Joan Warner, Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer. “The industry would like to express its appreciation for the early work done by Adstream and Fairfax Digital which will provide valuable input into the development of the final specifications.”

The spectrum efficiency of the digital technology DAB+ means broadcasters can add additional radio channels or provide on a small screen, scrolling news, sport and weather text or transmit a picture of a radio host, band or advertiser’s logo.

The digital radio production and distribution specifications will provide consistent audio and visual production values to meet digital radio’s unique needs and specifically match audio and text/image files at the final broadcast point to ensure the correct visuals are displayed with the correct audio.
Free-to-air digital radio services will be switched on in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth throughout May 2009.