Radioplayer - all of UK radio in one place

Wednesday 30 March 2011, 11:23

Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick Head of Interactive, Radio 3

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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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    Comment number 1.

    I had a quick look today, i have just one niggle.

    When listening back to radio programmes through the older interface 'BBC Media Player' (currently still on iplayer), it was easier to move to an exact time. With the radio player it takes a lot longer as you have to jump about 5 mins ahead.

    Apart from that looks good!

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    Comment number 2.

    The new Radioplayer looks good. Unfortunately, when playing BBC stations, the iPlayer console seems to be slightly larger than the set parameters for the console window. Thus requiring the window to be stretched to see all the console. When the station is changed the window 'reshrinks' to the original radioplayer size.
    I am using a laptop monitor with resolution 1366x768, when stretched out (so that the scroll bars are not visible) the console does not fit onto my screen unless I autohide the taskbar.
    This is only a problem with the BBC stations so I wanted to let you know. If this could be sorted out then the console would be great.

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    Comment number 3.

    BBC stations taking ages to load outside of UK (Sweden). I cannot get onto R4 at all, which pretty much ruins my morning! Commercial stations seem faster and hassle free, but I want my R4 fix!!

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    Comment number 4.

    Within the Flash movie on the radio player, I can see a lot of improperly labelled buttons and unlabelled graphics. this is not good for people like me who because of visual impairment have to use screen reading software. We are told the BBC takes accessibility needs seriously. If this really is the case, this must be dealt with very quickly.

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    Comment number 5.

    Thanks to you all for your feedback. I've passed it to the Radioplayer technical team. Please keep it coming!

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor

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    Comment number 6.

    What did you do about 5pm on Tuesday March 29th? I can'd get online BBC radio any more. I get Radio Player with Flash stencilled on in the window. I hear nothing. I click Flash. I hear nothing.

    Mac OS10.6.7, Safari 5.0.4

    How can you do this to me?

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    Comment number 7.

    The only gripe I have with the new Radioplayer is that when you move the slider across the top, it doesn't show you the time changing, as was the case with the old system. Now, it only shows you the new time when you stop sliding. This seems to be an oversight and if it can be rectified then the system will be fine.

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    Comment number 8.


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    Comment number 9.

    This web app is arguably the most exiting thing to happen in media since the era of Internet streaming began!

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    Comment number 10.

    Shame the commercial icons don't differentiate between the variants of the same channel so that the correct version is selected.

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    Comment number 11.

    Using Radioplayer for first time and while it looks easy to use, have failed several times over to "Add current station" to the presets panel. Nothing happens with a station up and running when you click the ADD button. When you search and move to another station, the previous one leaves its logo on the No 1 preset slot headed "Last station", but each new station you play overwrites this first position, and cannot be added in the No 2 slot. On screen instructions would help for idiots like me. Incidentally, as this is my first hour on the Radioplayer having sought a dozen or so stations to test, I find the "FOR YOU" selection being offered very spooky indeed. Based on what, may I ask???!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Ditto ChrisCornwall's complaint above. The player's list of search results delivers not only every nationwide version of XFM and Capital, but also timed programme strands on those stations (not readily apparent in the station logo), many of which simply deny you access for the obvious reason that they're not on-air live this minute and probably not avail "on-demand". What's then annoying is that there's no instant way back to the player from that error message window.

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    Comment number 13.

    JUST LIKE Joe Schofield wrote, I have not been able to HEAR ANY RADIO PROGRAMMES Via the station site schedule Play links FOR OVER A DAY!!


    Have been Listening Again to R2/3/4/6/7 for YEARS using the same PC set-up and now cannot do THAT IS AN IMPROVEMENT?

    Have had to revert to listening to music so you have now lost a listener and DEPRIVED all the programme makers, I have supported FOR YEARS, of some of their audience.



    [all evidence copied for main NON BBC news media, as this is clearly yet ANOTHER BBC technical disaster and deserves the MAXIMUM EXPOSURE]

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    Comment number 14.

    Same problem as post 11. I can't add channels, so every time I want to switch to another BBC channel, I have to go back to the main page and do it, very irritating when it's been working fine for ages, if it ain't broke etc. Personally I only listen to BBC channels so I find no added value in having commercial channels included.

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    Comment number 15.

    Can't "Add Current Station" ? - Me neither. (Windows XP with latest updates, cookies enabled, & IE 8.0.6001, if that makes any difference).
    Using MY STATIONS for the first time, it would be useful to be able to see a list of all available stations so as to add my own choices in bulk to "MY STATIONS".
    Website has useful alphabetic "Browse" option to see all available stations, but most of the A to Z buttons have nothing in them - It would be useful if these said "NONE" when the mouse pointer passes over them.
    Otherwise a nice idea. Overseas radio stations next?

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    Comment number 16.

    No cigar, I'm afraid.

    Problems with the new (huge) pop-up:

    1. Pops up wrong size with sidebar and scrollbar.
    2. Changes back to wrong size with sidebar and scrollbar with each change of station.
    3. Saved stations all disappear every time station is changed or pop-up closed.
    4. Stations cannot be dragged and dropped as stated.
    5. Search "tip" box shows every time despite clicking "do not show again".
    6. Its huge.

    And why the wretched thing simply does not simply start me off by carrying over my previous pre-set stations (which are still on the iPlayer Homepage) I do not know.

    I use Chrome as my default browser (latest version of this and latest version of Adobe Flash) but with IE9 it seems to work perfectly (apart from the hugeness). The thing is, I don't want to have to open a different (inferior) browser every time I want the Radio Player pop-up (which is every day, several times a day).

    Apart from that, it's every bit the glorious triumph that was the update to the iPlayer desktop that I can no longer use for downloads as it crashes my laptop.

    Once more, this could be so good but implementation bungled. Once the finest presence on the web, Auntie is losing her grip.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    @ jstone #13

    Radioplayer should work in both Firefox 3.6 and the newest Firefox 4.0 it certainly does for me (using Windows XP) i will try to post a reply to your iPlayer [url=]post[/url] after that messageboard re-opens.

    (this is not previewing posts, I wonder is it the Embeded Media Player causing a problem)

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    Comment number 18.

    Complete failure to Add Stations here too. But I do like the understated way it makes all stations equal (although - as others have pointed out - some are more equal than others in terms of presence!) And I too recall how terrible the first incarnation of the iPlayer was, so I'm sure it will all work out in the end.

    p.s. I do not believe that the original In Our Time download can be called a "podcast" since it surely predates the term - which I really hate because it is meaningless!

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    Comment number 19.

    @ Ivan #16

    Does Chrome allow you to force the Radioplayer popup to run as a tab instead. ( Firefox does see )

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    Comment number 20.

    The Radio 3 live stream in the new player is working ok expect that when I pause/re-start the player the stream never restarts and just ends up buffering for ever. I'm using Safari 5.0.4, Mac OS X 10.6.7.

    And I'd agree with other posters that the popup is too large. The old player was big enough, but the new player seems to use/waste even more space. I'd like to see a "mini" version of the player that did away with the superfluous search/what's-next chrome. I just want to play the radio, I can do the other stuff elsewhere.


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