Who said older radio listeners would have trouble finding digital platforms? Not 2CH! | radioinfo

Who said older radio listeners would have trouble finding digital platforms? Not 2CH!

Monday 14 December, 2020
2CH Breakfast presenter, Tim Webster.

It was just before 9 o’clock, last Tuesday morning that the new CD of 2CH, “an excited” Sam Thompson, burst into the on-air studio.

She told veteran announcer Tim Webster the news that the station had shot straight to number one on the 'DAB+ Only' chart at its first outing.
The station was recently evicted from the 1170 AM frequency which it had called home since 1935 to make way for the new owner’s Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
2CH debuted with 101,000 listeners, way above the 60,000 they’d hoped for. It means that they had retained well over a third of the 270,000 strong cumulative audience they had when AM was still their main platform in Survey 7.
Neither 2CH nor SEN were listed on the main metro board for Survey 8, primarily because neither the previous owners of CH, Glenn Wheatley’s EON Broadcasting or the new owners Craig Hutchison’s Pacific Star were keen on participating this time round as the results would mean little because the required two surveys worth of data for a valid result was not present.
GfK’s Media Measurement Director, Deb Hishon has confirmed that that 101,000 figure includes listening online and through apps such as CRA’s RadioApp But she was unable to comment on the breakdown of those figures because they are "not publicly available.”
Going back to Survey 7, when 2CH was still being surveyed on all bands, it returned a 5.0 share in Sydney while in AFL mad Melbourne, SEN could only manage a 3.0. To be fair, due to the pandemic, apart from AFL, there was not much to discuss as there was precious little sport actually being played anywhere in the world.  
Nonetheless, for several surveys prior, 2CH was consistently returning better audience shares than SEN. On the other hand, Survey 7 showed SEN had the superior cume figures: 382,000 to 2CH’s 270,000 which suggests a strong loyalty factor and longer TSL for the music station.
“I think Cherie (Romaro) did a very good job in crafting a niche for that format," says ARN’s Duncan Campbell. “It resonated and got some impact on DAB+. It was very well put together and it sounded strong."
Tim Webster also credits former 2CH CD Cherie Romaro for the station’s successful migration to digital but puts it down to the intense listener by listener conversion to the new platforms. “Right from the beginning we had a campaign supported by Harvey Norman and we were giving away $100 vouchers to go to Harvey’s and buy yourself a digital radio. And a lot of them did that, and then rang back to say, ‘Where has this been all my life.’  
"They were also surprised that you can buy yourself a pretty decent DAB+ radio for 50 bucks. And bless them, they went to the trouble of going out to buy one and bring it home and plug it in. Then we explained to them that we're not Classic Hits 2CH on DAB+, we’re the other way around with 2CH Classic Hits and we appear alphabetically. 
“When they asked, ‘on what frequency?’ We had to explain, there are no frequencies on digital radio. What I'm saying is that we really made a big effort to talk them through it and it's paid off big time. It's very heartening, really.” 

The people at 2CH aren’t the only ones heartened by their move from AM to digital only.

“I'll tell you what, it's a good time to also have a niche little music radio network... the mighty 2UE - it's doing very well along with Magic in Melbourne,” says Nine Radio’s CD, Greg Byrnes. “You know, I'd be lying if I said we weren’t very much aware that 2CH has changed platform. And we've adjusted our playlist accordingly. It's very exciting.”




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14 December 2020 - 3:13am
Three years ago, Norway switched off all main network analog radio leaving only DAB+. It took a year for ratings to recover and now there are more listeners than ever.

2CH also has another advantage that they are no longer paying for an AM transmitter and its maintenance, depreciation and electricity consumption. Remember that more than half of the electricity consumed went to produce the AM carrier which contains no information at all. In DAB+ there is no carrier and one transmitter is sharing more than 18 programs.

Congratulations to 2CH on the conversion of the audience which proves we could switch off all AM and FM city wide transmitters in all capital cities now, saving not only a lot of money for broadcasters but in all states except Tasmania a big reduction in greenhouse gasses.
14 December 2020 - 11:17am
If anything I would suggest older listeners (like myself) are more likely to be listening via DAB than younger people. Most times when I hear 4KQ in shops etc around Brisbane it's via DAB not AM. Yet operators like ARN just refuse to promote DAB - I just don't get it!!! Kudos to 2CH for actually promoting DAB.
Anthony The Koala
14 December 2020 - 11:52am
I fully concur with Mr St. John that most of the electricity consumption of an AM transmitter is in the carrier. Recall that a MW AM signal consists of the carrier and its upper and lower sidebands.

The AM carrier is transmitted in order for receivers with diode envelope detection. Diode envelope detection has been used as an envelope detector from simple crystal sets to most MW AM receivers.

If all AM receivers had a synchronous detector, there would be no need for the AM broadcaster to transmit the carrier. The broadcaster would save money on electricity consumption.

Unfortunately, "the toothpaste cannot be placed back in the tube" OR "you can't unscramble the egg". In this case, a broadcaster cannot suppress the carrier because no one will be able to receive AM broadcasts via an envelope detector.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
15 December 2020 - 11:14am
I would not push for new receivers with synchronous detection, digital reception has a lot more to offer. Such as;
stereo sound and the high pitched sounds that virtually all AM receivers remove to prevent interference particularly at night.
The parts of DAB+/DRM which are not being used in Australia are
Slideshow for images on the radio screen. The ABC transmits only an icon
Journaline which is an indexed many page text system, which could create an electronic newspaper.
The transmission of TPEG data so that road closures etc can be sent directly to vehicle navigation systems to re-route traffic. FM's RDS does it but it is very limited in the number of changes because of the very low available data rate.
Most importantly with the severe fires and storm events the Emergency Warning Functionality is yet to be used. This is where when a receiver is in the emergency area, it and the listener can be woken, a voice announcement is made along with a map and detailed instructions on what to do along with road closures sent to vehicles. This system can work when the mobile phone system and NBN cannot be relied on.
Anthony The Koala
15 December 2020 - 2:08pm
Dear Mr St. John,
I fully concur with you that you would not push for AM receivers with synchronous detection. It's too late, you "cannot unscramble the egg". In 'theory' synchronous detectors should have been made mandatory under the law administered by the PMG and Australian Broadcasting Control Board. Again, it's too late.

Having said that, SDR implementations of AM radio do have digital filtering techniques to significantly noise, 9kHz whistling and 'monkey chatter'.

FM's RDS system is too slow only enough to promote limited news, weather and tune information.

The potential of DAB+ has not been fully exploited with enhanced features such as journaline, TPEG and emergency wakeup. The same could be said about DRM+'s potential, a topic you have been crusading many times on this website. This is especially that DRM+'s being suitable for overseas and rural transmissions.

My question to you is if an emergency system is implemented under the DAB+ or DRM+ and the NBN and mobile phone systems are out-of-action, do you need a separate broadcast tower and mobile phone tower and separate power supplies?

What about a reliable link between the studio and transmission tower that is not delivered by the internet?

For example you mentioned a few times on this site, the devastation in Bateman's Bay of the bushfires destroying the ABC transmitters source, 4th June, 2020, 1:32pm, https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/telephones-weak-link-remote-broadcasting.

If the ABC in Bateman's Bay implemented a DAB+ or DRM+ with the transmission/reception system capable of journaline, TPEG and wakeup facility how would you prevent the broadcast transmitters from being destroyed again as happened during the bushfire?

In addition how would a link between the studio and transmitter be implemented without going through the internet = NBN?

Thank you,
Anthony of curious Belfield
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