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BBC iPlayer Radio: Radio 3 Programmes On Listen Again

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James Cridland James Cridland | 13:56 UK time, Friday, 1 August 2008

Quiet, isn't it?

Launching a new product like Radio in BBC iPlayer is bound to raise a few unexpected glitches.

Listeners to Dead Ringers on Radio 4 a few years ago will remember the team's affectionate tribute to Radio 3: "quiet, isn't it?"

bbcradio3.pngRecently, if you listen again to BBC Radio 3 on the iPlayer, you may have noticed occasional programmes which have been really very quiet indeed. Entirely silent, in fact.

This is due to something going wrong (he says, obviously) and we think it's a combination of software and hardware producing these issues on one of our encoders.

Our friends at Siemens hope they've isolated the problem and they're monitoring the issue carefully to ensure that you hear the BBC Proms in all their glory. This season has been especially good, so we wouldn't want you to miss a note.

Our plans to completely overhaul the system producing Listen Again is still going well behind the scenes, and I hope to report back to you later next month about how the rollout is going. Meanwhile, we're receiving a ton of nice feedback about the improved audio quality for our Listen Again service - so, if you've not tried it yet, please do go and enjoy some of the best that BBC Radio has to offer at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio.

Sir Henry Wood conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the 1944 Proms

James Cridland is Head of Future Media & Technology for Audio & Music Interactive.


  • Comment number 1.

    Keep up the good work with Listen Again. As always, it'd be great if we could have more shows as podcasts, or MP3 downloads, so I can listen 'on the go'.

    I remember the dead ringers sketch, I believe it was "Brian Perkins" who said that ;)

    Bring back Dead Ringers! I always thought it was better than The Now Show. I watched both as a guest in an OB van a few times and Dead Ringers was always more fun. The Now Show has improved recently, but we could do with something like Dead Ringers back on 4.

  • Comment number 2.


    Sorry to niggle...

    I had a look at the "Doctor Who Prom" on the iPlayer and it seemed quite badly edited for time.

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    Mark Perry was the impressionist who did the Radio 3 announcer, incidentally. And as Brian points out, Dead Ringers is currently playing on BBC7: here's a permanent link to the available programmes on iPlayer... http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search/?q=dead+ringers

  • Comment number 5.

    I recently migrated from Tesco to BT and since then have been unable to use 'Radio in BBC iPlayer' properly. Some four to five minutes into any programme being played back, my BT broadband connection will cut out. I spent about three hours on the phone to BT on Sunday but the problem is still the same and their attitude is that it is a BBC isue. I'm certain the problem lies with them and am very unhappy about their inability to resolve the matter.

  • Comment number 6.

    Wednesday, Anna, the host of Radio 4's 'Choice Is Yours' Message Board, recommended to posters on the 'Are You Happy With The New iPlayer?' thread that they cross-post to the iPlayer blog and other related blogs.

    On Tuesday, I posted this to the Radio 4 'Choice Is Yours' Message Board.

    It's Tuesday and here in Canada most Radio 4 programming from last Friday onwards is still unavailable. The same is true of many Radio 3 and BBC 7 programs on the flashy iPlayer. Although, to be fair, BBC 7's Listen Again links which use Real Player are working fine.

    Like the majority of other posters on various Radio 4 messageboards, I'm not happy with the new iPlayer. It represents a triumph of empty style and glitter over workmanlike functionality. The old RadioPlayer is not glitzy, but it works easily and smoothly and is accessible from the International Version of the BBC Radio home page - to access iPlayer, however, you have to switch to the UK Version. You can compare the two since Radio Player is still attached to the International Version home page offering World Service and a few other international stations.

    The iPlayer was apparently designed for UK users who like to stream TV via the internet with internet radio users thrown in as an afterthought. It does demonstrate that there was a sound reason for having separate players for Radio and TV - even if you want to use iPhone like graphics and Flash coding. I'm a subscriber to BBC World (BBC Canada's schedule is too packed with 'lowest common denominator' programing to be worth the fee) But BBC Radio has content worth listening to - except that the new iPlayer is making it as difficult as possible.

    In BBC surveys I've answered over the years, I've always said I'm willing to pay a reasonable monthly fee for BBC Radio, but I think I'd need to rethink that sentiment if it meant being stuck with iPlayer, which is slow to load, cumbersome, unstable when it does decide to play a program, unreliable when it comes to having audio streams available, cluttered with visual junk (see Book At Bedtime - a photo of a young woman in bed is a total waste) that adds nothing to the functionality of the iPlayer, and a bandwidth hog that prevents you from doing any other work on your computer.

    A notice - even if pure spin - on the station home pages to the effect that you're experiencing difficulties with iPlayer and some programs are not available as a result would be much more courteous than having to hunt through various messageboards in hopes of finding an explanation.

  • Comment number 7.

    wtempest. I'm entirely in agreement with you. For Radio streams the iPlayer puts a large bloat overhead on the experience.

    I listen to the BBC Radio streams via a wireless hardware player called a Squeezebox Boom (www.slimdevices.com). Normally this is a great experience, with very fast and intuitive access to all BBC radio content. However the move over to the ill-fitting iPlayer has messed up a lot of things (drop outs in the Real Audio streams, missing menu items and a complete hotchpotch of three different indexing systems, and lost connections in the wma streams).

    I hope the BBC sort it out soon as currently things are very frustrating.

  • Comment number 8.

    Thank you for the great post... http://www.birsesver.com


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