ABC NewsRadio is about to lift its audience reach to more than 95% of the Australian population.
Under an extension plan – advertised today in a tender – NewsRadio will expand into 70 new regional parts of Australia, lifting its reach from 78%.
The ABC’s Transmission Advisor Mark Spurway has told radioinfo about the rollout of the new service:
“It is part of the government’s election policy to extend the reach of News Radio to regions with a 10,000 population base and above. We have identified 72 such areas based on the same criteria as we have used for Radio National and Classic FM.
“It’s the first such increase of this size for some time and the people in News Radio are very excited about it. There have been enquiries for many years about extending this service to regional areas, and now it’s able to happen.”
Spurway says the ABC is planning a staged rollout starting in early 2006. All except one proposed service will be on FM (the exception is the Sunshine Coast). The major issue is availability of analog spectrum and the ABC is working closely with the ABA on that.
“We will be working region by region over the next two years on this. We have indicative planning for 21 regions already with frequencies already set aside. The most difficult areas will be on the east coast of Australia, because there are already a lot of radio services available up and down the coast, which makes finding spectrum difficult.”
NewsRadio is the only one of the five ABC domestic networks to broadcast live into all states and territories.
The expansion will bring NewsRadio into line with Local Radio, Radio National, Classic FM and Triple J, and follows a Government commitment to fund the expansion in the lead up to last year’s Federal election.