A NEW pop-up digital radio station from Southern Cross Austereo went live yesterday as the broadcasting industry prepares to mark the third anniversary of permanent DAB+ broadcasts in Australia this week.
The new Stardust Radio channel, launched yesterday afternoon, will feature a playlist from what the broadcaster describes as the great American songbook, with staples such as Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Nat King Cole, Harry Connick jnr and Elvis Presley.
Southern Cross Austereo closed down its Mainstage Soul format station last week and put in a temporary pop-up station of continuous birdsong, labelled simply Bird Radio.
However, the broadcaster was bracing itself for complaints because the placeholder station was an unexpected hit with listeners, many of whom phoned the station or even tweeted support.
"The response to the temporary birds station was insane," said Jaime Chaux, digital radio content director at Southern Cross Austereo.
"Even in my time working as a music director on FM radio, I never got this type of response to anything we did on-air."
He arrived at work on Monday to find his voicemail full. They called in at the weekend after reading the scrolling text, exhorting digital radio listeners to phone in their reaction to Bird Radio.
"We didn't publicise it anywhere, we just quietly turned it on," Mr Chaux said.
"The message is the same - people love it and, amazingly, listeners find it very relaxing."
Breakfast and morning radio hosts from commercial and public stations will stage outside broadcasts across five cities tomorrow morning to mark three years since the launch of digital radio broadcasts in the five mainland state capitals.
The location for the Melbourne outside broadcasts is Federation Square. The event will run between 5am and 9am.
Listeners to commercial radio will be able to enter a contest to win one of three models of Toyota vehicles, now equipped with digital radio as a standard feature.