By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: The first container of digital radios was completely sold before it landed on the docks here, despite all the delays of the digital radio roll-out and all the negative media reports that the new broadcast technology has received so far.

Commercial Radio Australia’s Joan Warner wants more than anyone for digital radio to be a success, she’s the CEO in the hot seat of the radio industry body trying to sell Australians on digital radio.

The best news for Joan is that her mission was always a ‘fait accompli’ — it was only a matter of time. Radio is going digital, just like TV and mobile phones before them.

Time was the problem though, and the digital radio roll out dragged on longer than planned. But digital radio broadcasts finally started on 4 May in Perth when the commercial radio stations Mix 94.5, 92.9, Nova 93.7, 6PR, 96 fm, 6ix, Radar, Pink Radio and Novanation began broadcasting Australia’s first permanent DAB+ digital radio services.

Melbourne radio stations began broadcasting DAB+ digital radio on Monday 11 May and Adelaide goes live with digital radio broadcasts on Monday 18 May.

Now it’s all happening at once. Bush Australia’s first container of digital radios was completely sold out before it arrived at the dock and retailers are already wanting more. Bush is importing DAB+ digital radios under the Bush, Grundig and Ministry of Sound brands.

“They’ve all gone out already to the retailers in time for the launch,” said Bush Australia managing director, Daniel Todd about the first container load. “And the retailers are already placing reorders.”

Todd says the digital radio broadcast delays actually worked out favourably.

“With the launch coming out, and the advertising campaign and Commercial Radio Australia doing the right thing it’s the perfect start.

“Australian retailers are always keen to support new technology and it’s a really good opportunity to reinvigorate the market. I think we’re all taking that opportunity to basically bust this ‘so-called’ recession and DAB+ digital radio is a really good way to do that and the retailers have jumped on board just at the right time.”