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Radioplayer launches

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Dave Price Dave Price | 11:59 UK time, Thursday, 31 March 2011

Today I'm delighted to announce the launch of Radioplayer.

Radioplayer is the culmination of a successful partnership between the BBC and Commercial radio to provide consumers with an attractive proposition for easy online radio listening and an easy-to-use application that allows quick navigation between stations and search function across radio stations online.

I've been asked many times about the future BBC plans for online Radio, on this topic it is worth referencing Daniel Danker's previous post.

So what does Radioplayer mean for BBC online radio listeners? Quite simply whether you navigate from the Radio network sites or from BBC iPlayer if you use the existing pop up console, you'll have a new console with some great enhancements! There are no changes to how you consume Radio in BBC iPlayer, so if you prefer to listen in page you'll be pleased to hear that option remains.

radioplayer console

The Radioplayer console

The previous version of the BBC radio console was designed against three key principles;

simplicity, discoverability and personalisation.

Throughout the BBC's relationship with the Radioplayer partners it has been hugely important to ensure we built upon these principles.

We thought the best way to do that was by delivering a consistent user experience across BBC and Commercial stations, yet ensuring we have a framework for BBC, and indeed Commercial, stations to innovate and express their unique identity. This has been realised through enabling:

• Industry wide UK radio station presets

• Simple and consistent player controls

• Pan industry search allowing audiences to discover and switch between stations

• Establishing a framework for presenting supporting content

radioplayer preset

The Radioplayer preset

BBC and Commercial radio station presets

The Radioplayer partnership has enabled the BBC to extend its existing Station preset functionality, as of today you can now discover and save your favourite radio stations and programmes and seamlessly switch between BBC and Commercial networks. Over the coming weeks numerous new stations will be joining the partnership.




Same size, same media player...

The BBC UX&D team led the Radioplayer partnership in defining an agreed set of design guidelines, that outlined the size of the console, interactions and the simple media player controls. For the user this means whether they are using a Radioplayer console to listen to BBC Radio 1, Xfm, Absolute Radio or Juice 107.2 they will have a familiar experience.

A single place to discover UK radio

In February Paul Clark wrote about partner linking in iPlayer for TV broadcasters , with the launch of the Radioplayer, online listeners can similarly discover and switch to radio stations and programmes from across the UK. The common metadata and search functionality mean regardless of whether you are listening to BBC Radio 4, Capital or Smooth the results returned will be consistent.

Radioplayer search

Radioplayer search

Search is a feature that will experience continued refinement, as partner metadata improves and algorithms evolve the accuracy of results. By its very nature a degree of serendipitous content will also surface offering audiences the ability to quickly discover unfamiliar and new content.

For those interested Radioplayer search has been built upon the new Radioplayer metadata specification a result of the collaboration of industry metadata experts

Supporting content and innovation

While it was important for Radioplayer to offer a consistent user experience, none of the partners wanted to stifle innovation or restrict brand identity. As such ¾ of the real estate is available for stations to customise.

Our audience research clearly highlights that first and foremost online radio audiences want to listen. However, they consistently expressed the need to discover more about BBC programmes and quickly find and share content.


The team delivering the BBC Radioplayer console have continued to keep this in mind, and as such focused on improving how we surface supporting information, including improvements to the favouriting and recommending interactions, plus we've added track now playing information.

The latter has been the top feature request, and it's great to be able to display the track information (and associated links to /music page) for live broadcasts on Radio 1, Radio 1 Extra, Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music.

I look forward to your feedback, and observing the usage of the BBC Radioplayer console.

Dave Price is Product Lead, BBC iPlayer, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great stuff, Dave. It has been a pleasure to be involved via the Atlas project. A few thoughts here: http://bit.ly/hrd4bL

  • Comment number 2.

    For BBC stations, the lighter grey border around the edge of the console seems to be bigger than the normal size for the Radioplayer, meaning that the scroll bars are visible. When you change stations, the box 'reshrinks' to the default size. I am using a 1366x768 resolution laptop and cannot stretch the console (until there's no scroll bar) to the full height without autohiding my taskbar. A fix for this would make it easier to handle the console within my computer.

  • Comment number 3.

    Can you state the minimum browser and flash versions needed to run Radioplayer? Doesn't seem to work properly on my Asus netbook.

  • Comment number 4.

    Two comments. First, I agree with Auburn Time Lord. The BBC radioplayer box is larger than those from other sites. Having both the BBC and the Absolute Radio players open shows the difference. The Absolute one fills the height of the screen correctly - top of the screen to the top of the task bar. The BBC one drops beneath the task basr, making resizing difficult.

    Secondly, and most importantly for me, none of the BBC radio stations work for me, either from the BBC player, or from any of the other stations players. Conversely, Absolute, Heart and XFM all work as expected, from their own players AND from the BBC one. They all show the play bar above the search box, but none of the BBC ones do.

  • Comment number 5.

    Shame the commercial icons (on the RP website - for clarity) don't differentiate between the variants of the same channel so that the correct version is selected.

  • Comment number 6.

    Your station search parser is pants, e.g.:

    Sorry, we couldn't find anything relating to Radio3

  • Comment number 7.

    The bit rate that each station is broadcasting in is hidden? i like to know if the quality will be listenable before even going in on the station. Also isnt it about time we had HD radio for other BBC stations as well as Radio 3? Give us 320 aac stream for Radio 2 & BBC London then I'll be happy? Or is this not possible while still promoting DAB as CD Quality at the ancient 128 MP2 codec?

  • Comment number 8.

    Notwithstanding the sad disappearance of Sir Nigel Tufnell's '11' setting on the volume control (oh, BBC, how you've lost your sense of fun), I do miss numbers on the control, as you had previously.

    On a more serious point, I do have an ergonomic issue with the siting of the volume icon, currently ranged on the far right. To get to this icon and change the volume involves at least one reversal of mouse direction (try it). If you had the volume icon centred (say) and the volume slider on the right-hand side of the icon, the direction of the control would make more sense according to the current right-facing orientation of the icon and would involve less mouse movement overall.


  • Comment number 9.

    The programme progress slider is a lot worse than the older version. Previously, moving the slider back and forth (always a lot easier after pressing the stop button) gave an indication of the programme time according to the position of the slider, thus one could get back or forward to a specific time position. Why has this useful facility been discarded?


  • Comment number 10.

    Try as I might (both on a PC and a Mac, using different browsers), I cannot 'add' stations. Is this feature activated yet?


  • Comment number 11.

    Congratulations on rolling out a Flash app in 2011.

  • Comment number 12.

    Quite an achievement, to get agreement. Must confess I remain unhappy about the use of flash over open source in this day and age, but that battle seems lost for some reason. Flash is rather overkill for audio, don't you think?

    One real irritant:
    In Firefox (Linux or Windows) it insists on opening an extra window, somehow bypassing the 'open new windows as tabs' setting. With no scroll bars. On my netbook, which only has a resolution of 1024x600, this means the bottom half of the window is inaccessible. And most of the search results from the search bar can't be accessed. In Chrome, you get scroll bars.

    I have to say, I get very cross with applications that turn off the menus and scroll bars in windows. It's not your browser, it's MINE.

  • Comment number 13.

    Unfortunately this is unusable for me due to its dependence on proprietary software (Flash).

  • Comment number 14.

    Seriously, the R4 boards were closed down twenty minutes ago, even though Anna Cassa said they'd be open til midday. How despicable is that..?

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't need moderation explained to me. The Beeb has betrayed our trust, and unsurprisingly, a lot of us are going to fail to pass the moderation test we have to go through all over again for the blogs because we are angry. Well played.

    And that damn flea...

  • Comment number 16.

    But not you, evidently, nameless mod. You're one of the good 'uns...

    Posters, though, as they visit the 'TCIYs' board, and realise that they *can't* post, will be getting increasingly vexed, but unable to express it, unless they know about 'The Bull', on The Archers' boards. It's like Xmas all over again, when no-one thought to mention that the boards would be closed for at least two full days. Accurate information is the least we deserve.

  • Comment number 17.

    JoeK - you are off topic - this post is not about the closure of the Radio 4 message boards which was as I recall announced two weeks ago.

    If you wish to discuss this there is a thread on the Points of View message board still open.

    No more comments on this subject please.


  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    New player lloks great BUT no audio from any station :( using Chrome on a Mac. Always worked before, no problems.

  • Comment number 20.

    Wahey! I've just hit upon the way to add a station to my stations. Forget trying to click on the '+' sign - it does nothing. Forget trying to click on the 'Add' box next to it - that also does nothing. Instead, you get a line of text underneath it saying 'to my stations'. You have to hover over it until it underlines itself, and then click on the underlined text.

    It's just about the most awful bit of design ever. And needless to say, it's not explained in the promo videos of course.


  • Comment number 21.

    When you drag the scrubber on the progress bar, the displayed time should update - otherwise how are you supposed to move to a particular point in a programme? Also, let's have the bitrate information available in the player somewhere - I don't mind if it's hidden for "normal" users, but some of us are interested!

  • Comment number 22.

    In live mode, what determines what is shown in the 'playing' window when programme A has finished and programme B has started? I'm finding the playing window doesn't update, i.e. continues to show programme A.

    Is this supposed to happen?


  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Radio 4 programmes on the Radioplayer suffer from constant tics. Radio 4 Extra programmes are unlistenable due to some kind of fluctuation in the sound. Was this application properly debugged before launch? It doesn't seems so!

    At this rate you're going to lose a lot of online listeners. Please go back to the old player while you sort this mess out.

  • Comment number 25.

    Thanks for the comments to date, we definitely appreciate the feedback. First off, I’d like to touch on a couple of the UX issues raised, specifically problems with scroll bars appearing in Chrome and the confusing UX for ‘Add to my stations’, the good news is, both of these will be fixed in a release on Wednesday. Secondly, some listeners have commented on issues with playback, accessibility and usability in the BBC Radioplayer media player, I can confirm this feedback has been captured and we’re currently working with the Engineering and Test teams to address. We’ll keep you posted with progress against these issues. In the meantime, please keep sending your feedback.

  • Comment number 26.

    *Don't* send any complaints, though. Just 'feedback'.

    We had the same problem with the 'tics'. My wife was listening to a programme yesterday evening, and it was really annoying her.

    I just think it's typical of a BBC that's in sad decline, and cutting the important stuff while splashing out on bells and whistles that nobody wants or needs.

  • Comment number 27.

    I am in the United States, and listen to BBC Radio Services via the "Radio-Player"...And, I am having problems with "pre-setting" my favourite channels...???

    Dennis in Rochester, New York

  • Comment number 28.

    Very strange to use Flash as the technology to produce this? It trend is moving away from using Flash for this type of application.

  • Comment number 29.

    Two questions:

    Why is it only available as a pop-up? I'm glad, of course, that the iPlayer radio pages will continue to be available as regular web-pages, but why is the rest of Radioplayer not available to those of us who prefer to keep only one window open per application?

    And why only the BBC and commercial stations? Why exclude the community radio sector?

  • Comment number 30.

    "The programme progress slider is a lot worse than the older version"

    I agree, and I would also like to have information on the bitrate visible.

  • Comment number 31.

    The Radio in iPlayer previous no longer works with internet explorer 9,why is this? is this so you can get us all to use the new version which I do not like!

  • Comment number 32.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio You cannot add local station either on opera explorer,are these deliberate technical issues to move everyone to the new dreadful radio player?

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi Dave, were the changes that you stated in an earlier comment implemented this week? I have not noticed a difference, I assumed you meant that coming Wednesday. It would be good to hear how things are going.

  • Comment number 34.

    Radioplayer makes internet radio much easier - personally I think each station should consider two streams, a quality home listening one and a mobile one - data is getting more expensive on phones (even unlimited is capped now) so there is a case for an ultralow bitrate option so people can continue listening when out and about. Cars for example??

  • Comment number 35.

    You start your blog announcing the launch of Radioplayer as 'Today', ie 31 March. However it seems to have been up and running a week or so before this date - I first encountered it the day after the 'outage' on Tuesday 23 March and thought at first it an aftermath of that, especially as there where various quirks and oddities (see my post on the outage blog).
    Now those problems have been sorted and everything is explained I am not so worried and am getting used to it. However I do agree with the comments made about the progress bar(time update), bit rate, ergonomics, etc.
    Also I notice some programmes, such as Today, pop up not in Radioplayer but a seperate iPlayer consule. Is this deliberate?

  • Comment number 36.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 37.

    I seem to have lost the "Listen Again" function on the radio section of i player. All I get is a black space where the programme ident should be. There is no control function to play or pause the programme either. The TV section works fine as does the listen live on radio. Is it me, the computer or the BBC at fault??


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