What radio looks like in Australia
Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 at 9:03 am. #
Last month I was in Australia: driving from Brisbane to Melbourne, via Sydney and Canberra.
As I’ve written here before, Australian radio sounds different: and it looks different, too.
Listen on DAB+ with a suitable radio and radio becomes a glanceable experience as well as an audio one.
Crucially: this doesn’t change radio from a ‘secondary medium’ – something you can enjoy while you do something else. This isn’t crap TV. This is radio that you can glance at to discover what’s playing; what’s up next; and other pieces of information from broadcasters.
SLS – as it’s officially known – works on DAB or DAB+ by broadcasting these images along with the audio. More usually this is known as DAB Slideshow – or visual radio. A variant of this standard, called RadioVIS, uses hybrid radio to achieve the same thing – using open technology called RadioDNS linking the broadcast audio (on FM, IP, DAB, HD or other platforms) with images available online.
It’s still early days: but the richness of some of the commercial operators’ images seem to show that this is slowly taking off. Uncharacteristically, the ABC has yet to do much with this technology, simply transmitting radio station logos – but even this, in a land that still uses diaries to register peoples’ listening, is useful, since it aids brand recall in a way that a small programme label cannot. (Now that ABC News has moved buildings into a purpose-built Brisbane office, it would seem a great excuse to work harder on these visuals.)
- See the full slideshow on Flickr here.
- Stations in the UK are doing this too: try a PURE Sensia or a Revo Axis tuned into many DAB or FM services. The BBC are still trialling RadioVIS, but you’ll find public services from many stations, notably Absolute, Global Radio, Planet Rock and others.
- If you’re interested in RadioDNS, there’s a hackday next week at the EBU in Geneva, along with RadioDNS’s General Assembly.