The days when radio listeners had to position their antennas at odd angles just to listen to the news without interference are long past. Or when they had to impatiently wait for the host to please reveal the name of the song or at least the artist afterwards. And remember this: Radio listeners used to have to physically sit in front of the radio if they didn’t want to miss something. These times are almost over, and that’s good news. Because digital radio is being fine-tuned in Austria, more specifically in Vienna. The second test phase for Digital Audio Broadcasting+ (DAB+) – as it is officially called – began in 2015, and RADIO MAX has now also joined the trials. With a programme that is audibly different.

RADIO MAX presents the big city sound for Vienna, which sounds the way life here feels: relaxed, hip, but at the same time exciting.

The new digital station “BIG CITY LIVE” is the sound of the urbanites, who know exactly what’s cool: a little retro, a little modern and trendy, and sometimes even edgy. The core target group is established 35 to 59 year-olds with more purchasing power. However, younger listeners between 25 and 35 will also discover things they like on the playlist. Classics by artists such as Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra are always right and work brilliantly in a cross-generational, big city mix. Modern performers – like Eliza Doolittle, Gregory Porter, Diana Krall, Blank & Jones – give BIG CITY LIVE a contemporary zing. The programme has been designed as a pure music format a little to one side of the mainstream, interrupted only for jingles coordinated to the time of day and day of the week (relaxed, casual or stimulating, party music) with seasonal focuses. When Advent calendars finally show up in the supermarkets again, BIG CITY LIVE will be playing Christmas songs!

The DAB+ test phase is not about selling or POS advertising. BIG CITY LIVE is a pure music format intended to contribute to the diversity of radio programming.

The first priority for RADIO MAX in participating in the DAB+ trial is to develop new technologies and contribute to the diversity of radio programming. “Even though DAB+ is still in its infancy, we’re convinced it’s the radio of the future. More stations to choose from means greater personalisation and programming diversity. That’s why we here at RADIO MAX want to be a part of it from the ground up with BIG CITY LIVE,” said Norbert Gavran, CEO of RADIO MAX. The individual character of it is reflected particularly nicely in the way the Viennese big city sound is composed – by professional music editors who put a lot of passion into selecting the songs and the programming. A hand-picked playlist versus the monotonous sound of commercial radio.

Additional information becomes an indispensable service for listeners, or more accurately users.

In addition to RADIO MAX, which is currently the largest live-hosted commercial broadcaster in Europe, 16 other radio stations are involved in the tests. Established radio stations like Radio Arabella and Radio Energy are participating as are new radio presences like Radio Technikum from the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien. Which clearly demonstrates that DAB+ really does provide options for diversity. In addition, radio is suddenly becoming more than music and news thanks to the digital broadcasting of audio signals – the + stands for the top-quality sound transmission. Additional information such as text or pictures – in other words, song information or weather updates and traffic announcements – is now possible. In other words, more service, more stations, more flexibility. Because listening to a programme later on is suddenly no longer a problem either. Up to 30 stations are set to commence regular operations by 2018, initially in parallel with analogue signals. Norway, on the other hand, is one step ahead: All ultra-short wave frequencies will be switched off there by 2017. At that point, radios with wire antennas will go the way of cassettes. What were cassettes again?

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