By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: Digital radio has launched its first test transmission using DAB+ technology, broadcasting a blend of talk and music to allow sound quality testing before it six city rollout planned for January 2009.

Managed by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) on behalf of commercial and public radio broadcasters, the trial will show radio receiver manufacturers that digital radio is a reality and should be taken seriously.

“This is the first fully compliant high-power broadcast of digital radio using DAB+ technology anywhere in the world, so it’s quite an important milestone,” said CRA chief executive officer, Joan Warner.

“This is a technical field test that will ascertain coverage area and system performance and how well DAB+ can be used to broadcast multiple channels of audio and data, in preparation for commercial rollout,” she added.

DAB+ technology will enable listeners to tune into digital radio through an iPod while allowing people to download and purchase songs as they are listening to them.