In what has been described as an "historic moment" for Australian music, the influential Triple J radio network flipped the switch yesterday on a second digital station, Triple J Unearthed.
The new 24/7 station is dedicated solely to new Australian music and will be available to owners of digital receivers in the five capital cities -- Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. International listeners can tune in at triplejunearthed.com, a site which boasts a community of more than 250,000 users.
Triple J, a division of the government-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), typically plays alternative music, does not air advertisements and is considered a hugely-influential tastemaker in the 18-24 demographic. It's the music grid Australia's youth plug into, and it's the single-most effective platform Australian artists have at their disposal. Its sister Unearthed station does what it's title suggests. It plays new, homegrown music. And nothing else.
The focus of Unearthed is "very much on music discovery," Triple J manager Chris Scaddan tells Billboard.biz. With yesterday's launch, the Corporation has doubled the number of music stations that are available than on analog.
"Initially, we're expecting the audience to come from the site and from the existing Triple J audience," explains Scaddan, noting that the station currently enjoys a weekly five capital city reach upwards of 1.5 million listeners. "Triple J Unearthed is the biggest Australian online music community; there's nothing else that comes close," notes Scaddan. "So having 250,000 users who have already engaged with the triplejunearthed.com site gives us good start."
To celebrate the launch, Triple J will host simultaneous parties today (Wednesday, Oct. 5) in the five launch cities and the nation's capital, Canberra. There'll be performances from the likes of New Navy, Strange Talk, Big Scary, Split Seconds and Bleeding Knees Club.
"We know that a strong station like this will prove that Australian audiences want to hear Australian content on the radio. That it's not a handicap as it has sometimes been portrayed."