Listening to the radio online has a history. The first station in the world to stream radio across the Internet was North Carolina student radio station WXYC in late 1994.

BBC radio programmes have been available on the web for over fifteen years. A 1995 experiment by BBC Radio 3 also included what we've come to know as 'user-generated content' and webcams.

In March 1996, Virgin Radio in London became the first station in the world to be streamed online round-the-clock.

Later in 1996, BBC Radio 1 began streaming live radio regularly.

In 1999, Virgin (which you'll now know as Absolute Radio) scored another first with an 'interactive' online player that provided information about what was playing.

In 2002 the BBC Radio Player was launched and two years later the BBC became the first UK broadcaster to podcast programmes (with In Our Time, now past its 500th episode). It's safe to say that every other British radio station can now be heard online.

But for the whole of this history the UK radio industry has provided no single place to listen to all of your favourite stations - no equivalent to the transistor radio in your kitchen. You had to visit each web site in turn and accustom yourself to a different way of listening at each.

That is now officially history. Radioplayer is a partnership between the BBC and the UK commercial stations to provide a single, consistent interface to UK radio online. To begin with, 157 stations are in the Radioplayer and that will rise to 228 soon when radio stations owned by Bauer and UTV are added.

For BBC radio listeners, Radioplayer upgrades the existing BBC radio console by allowing you to search across all the stations involved and save presets of your favourite stations. We've made it easier to share favourite BBC programmes with your friends and see information about what is now playing.

Watch the video for further information and leave a comment here to let us know what you think of it.

Radioplayer is available on BBC online now. Tomorrow, we'll publish two more blog posts about it - one here on the Radio blog by Tim Davie, Director of Audio & Music at the BBC, and one on the BBC Internet blog by Dave Price, the manager responsible for building Radioplayer (Dave's post will have more technical detail).

Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor

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