Canberra Digital Radio

Now digital radio in Canberra is usable since, from 5 October, we have finally had a number of ABC stations joining the commercial stations.

Not all the ABC stations, but the ones that are on AM, plus three digital-only stations: ABC Jazz, ABC Grandstand and Triple J Unearthed. Presumably we will also get ABC News Radio, ABC Classic FM and Triple J when we finally move (probably in 2013) beyond the trial phase to a formal implementation of digital radio. The ABC had to choose which to put up in a constrained trial environment (we only have one subchannel — 10B — at the moment, while Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have three — 9A, 9B and 9C).

So here are all the channels presently available on digital radio in Canberra, along with the bitrates with which their contents are compressed in AAC+ format:

Station Bitrate
104.7-HIT MUSIC 64kbps
2CA Digital 64kbps
2CC Digital 64kbps
666 ABC Canberra 48kbps
ABC Jazz 56kbps
ABC Grandstand 48kbps
ABC Radio National 48kbps
Classic Hits Plus 64kbps
Hot Country 64kbps
MIX 106.3 FM 64kbps
My Canberra 64kbps
SBS Radio 1 48kbps
SBS Radio 2 48kbps
SBS Chill 80kbps
SBS Pop Asia 80kbps
Triple J Unearthed 56kbps

ABC Jazz, incidentally, is identical to that available on digital TV on Channel 201, except that it runs one second behind on digital radio. Likewise SBS Radio 1 and SBS Radio 2 are on Channels 38 and 39 respectively of digital TV. They both run about 2.3 seconds behind on digital radio.

Comparable? Well SBS on digital TV uses two channel MPEG2 audio at 160kbps, and it’s all talk so to speak. Both the ABC ‘radio’ channels on digital TV — ABC Jazz and ABC Dig — are also delivered with MPEG2 audio, but at 128kbps and, surprisingly, in 1.0 channel format! Yes, I’ve just been switching between ABC Jazz on digital radio and on digital TV, and the former is stereo and the latter mono.

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