The strong growth of digital technology over the past decade has resulted in a requirement for broadcasting services to convert from analogue to digital technology. While provision has been made for the transfer of television broadcasts to digital, until now no provision had been made for the transfer of radio broadcasting.
The transition to digital is arguable the most important strategic issue facing Australian radio since the introduction of Frequency Modulated (FM) services in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Radio broadcasting has an established and unique position in the Australian media landscape. It is the most ubiquitous of all media, being found in virtually every home, car and workplace in the country.
Digitisation is transforming all media and communications sectors, enabling the delivery of a common range of audio-visual, entertainment and information services to an increasingly more engaged, demanding and fragmented audience. This is no more evident than in radio, where evolving digital technologies, such as MP3 players and iPods – are changing listening patterns and re-shaping the way audio content is created, distributed and listened to.
Submissions to this inquiry were very supportive of the bill's intent and the majority of its provisions. Broadcasters generally were positive about the capabilities that the new digital medium will give them in terms of content and new services.