BBC and commercial radio launch Radioplayer service
Radioplayer, which allows listeners to access UK radio from one online console, has gone live.
It currently brings together around 160 stations, including BBC national and local services along with those from UK commercial radio, although the eventual plan is for hundreds of stations to be available.
It is open to all Ofcom-licensed radio operations, including community and student stations.
'This is very much the start of the journey,' Andrew Harrison, chairman of UK Radioplayer Ltd, the company that has been set up to develop the product, said at a launch event at Centre Point in London today.
Michael Hill, managing director of the company, added: 'We'll be refining it over many months. It brings together the functions of utility and serendipity - users come across content they didn't even know existed - in one interface.'
Tim Davie, director of BBC Audio and Music, said: 'Radioplayer's strength is a simple, powerful offer to listeners: all of radio in one place.'
The Radioplayer console pops when online users click the 'listen live' or 'listen again' buttons on radio websites, and allows them to store their favourite stations as pre-sets and to search by station, programme, location, presenter or topic.
Describing the service as an 'exciting' development and a 'real piece of innovation', Tim Davie told today's gathering of press and industry representatives: 'It's a quiet breakthrough and great news for listeners and for people who love radio.'
Recently he had attended a major European conference at which there was 'incredible interest' in the product, he explained.'Vital component'
BBC output will be available on the service up to seven days, while commercial radio will offer programmes from the previous two weeks.
Although commercial podcasts can be searched for via Radioplayer, users will still have to access BBC podcasts from the BBC website.
The new console will use existing audio streams, so stations will remain in full control of branding, audio and visual content.
Set up by a partnership between the BBC and commercial radio, Radioplayer is seen as a 'vital component' of radio's digital future, alongside DAB. The expectation is that three million listeners will use the new console within the first week - internet radio currently attracts 4.5 million users per week.