The ABC‘s digital radio arm faces an uncertain future as looming cuts to the broadcaster’s budget could seemingly bring the axe down upon it. Among the many recommendations put forth in the Lewis Review – a so-called “efficiency” report into potential savings at the ABC and SBS which more or less recommends turning them both into pro-Government shadow puppet theatre – digital radio was high on the list of areas where savings could be made. Which, if seen through to fruition, means curtains for the brand’s digital radio stations Triple J Unearthed, and the recently launched Double J.
After being launched a mere four months ago to much fanfare, Double J now suddenly faces the very real prospect of shutting back down without even a year to its name. Anchored around station cornerstone presenter Myf Warhurst, the fledgling station aims at a slightly older audience than its youthful sibling Triple J.
The sad reality of it, though, is that digital radio simply isn’t taking hold in the Australian marketplace; you’d be hard pressed to find people who actually know how to access the station in a manner that isn’t accidentally hitting the channel up button one too many times on your TV remote.
Whilst it would be a damned shame for the TwoJays to shut their doors less than twelve months into their tenure, if the inevitable budgetary cuts do come down across the ABC – the proverbial Sword of Damocles dropping – and we’re faced with a choice between either cutting the digital radio arm off, or defunding local, original, inventive television content then, begrudgingly, I know which option I’d prefer.