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Show and tell: exploring Radio 3's new website ...

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Gabriel Gilson Gabriel Gilson | 22:39 UK Time, Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Image of Radio 3 home page


Interactive Editor Gabriel Gilson on the new-look Radio 3 website.

The new-look Radio 3 website is now with us - if you've reached this far you've already started to engage with it. So this is my chance to welcome you and explain a bit more about how it works. You can read about the background in my previous post. I'll devote the rest of this one to a quick guide to the key features. If there's anything not clear, or bits and pieces you'd like to know about then feel free to add a comment and I'll update this text as soon as I can.


To listen to Radio 3 live in normal quality, click the word 'Listen' in the red panel in the top right hand of the screen. You'll also find information about the programme that's on now and next. To listen in HD Sound – the highest quality audio stream offered by the BBC – click the HD Sound button. Most people should have no trouble with this stream, but it's still new for us so we've kept it as an option. Follow this link for more information about HD Sound.

Radio 3 Schedule

Click on the word 'Schedule' in the navigation bar above the main picture, or in the red lozenge to the right of the main image. This will take you to a view of the whole of this week's schedule. You can change the view to see one day at a time, or to add more or less information by using the 'View' buttons near the top of the schedule display. These can be very helpful, so it's worth having a play to find which view suits you best.


Tracklists and Playlists

Almost all our music shows publish a track-by-track list of the music they've played (and we're working hard to ensure they all do it). Follow the links in the 'Playlists' panel to find the programme you're interested in.      

Catch Up

You can listen to nearly all Radio 3 programmes for up to 7 days after broadcast. We'll  promote highlights from the site and you can find any programme you like via the  'Programmes' or 'Schedule' links in the top navigation bar.

Classical, Jazz, World, Arts & Drama

Radio 3 offers a wide range of output. To help you find the type of music or speech you're interested in, we have a main page for each type ('genre' in BBC- speak). You can get to these using the Classical, Jazz, World and Arts & Drama options in the top navigation. Along with details of broadcasts, there's a wealth of related content on each of those pages – including archive programmes.

Composers' Archive

Many of you asked to be able to find information or choose what to listen to by composer. The Composer option in the top navigation is the first step. It lists all the composers we have information on. Usually this will include a biography, recent concert clips and documentaries from the Radio 3 archive.  This is a new, permanent offer, and one which we're very excited to be able to make available.

Special Features 


Radio 3 is renowned for broadcasting a large number of live concerts with the best musicians in the world. All this music is available to Listen for up to 7 days after broadcast. 

You can choose a complete concert to listen from those currently available, or you can choose an individual work from our highlights. These are offered as part of the BBC's  'Music Showcase' and you can listen to one work at a time, or use the 'play all' function to listen to them all back-to-back.

Discover – Classical

We've added hundreds of hours of Radio 3 archive from the Composer of the Week and Discovering Music strands. You can get to these from promotions on the home page or  browse the complete collection via the 'Composer' page.

Discover – Jazz

You can browse past editions of Jazz Library – available to listen or download and keep. These cover many well known artists and we'll add more over the coming weeks.

Discover – World Music

The World Archive features hundreds of hours of unique location recordings of music from all over the world. 


Each music page now has a panel showing the latest reviews from BBC Music. Follow the  links to see the full list of available reviews. Recommendations from Radio 3's own review show – CD Review – are available via the programme page or composer page.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great to see a fresh new website for Radio 3. I notice the change in 'pattern' from the red, white and blue musical stave to spirograph-like shapes. Will this be a concurrent change to replace the Radio 3 look over all? e.g. on the BBC Radio page and on the iPlayer/Radioplayer?

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for comment. Yes, we are going to be replacing the old 'swirls' with what everyone is calling the new spirograph style patterns. That's across several different platforms (Radioplayer, iPlayer, Red Button, mobile) so it'll take a few days to work its way round. All from the latest Radio 3 branding kit. Posted by Gabriel, Interactive Editor.

  • Comment number 3.

    The site looks great - but unfortunately the HD sound button is broken. Instead of playing the HD sound, it takes you to the HD sound help page.

    The HD sound itself is working fine for those that can find a way to access it.

  • Comment number 4.

    It would be nice if the HD button worked as it used to before this change. Yesterday, I could only get it to pop out from the home page, not anywhere else. Today, it won't even work from there. Hope this'll be sorted out by the tine the Proms start!

  • Comment number 5.

    I quite like the 'Guardian' white spaces (text with plenty of 'air' around it) but the size of the largest headlines does look like a 'Show and Tell' child's reading book (Playlists, Latest from the blog, Listen, Discover - and on other pages similarly). I've decreased the text size in my browser which still leaves the headlines large and the text now quite small, so still quite a bit of scrolling down the page to do. I know that's part of the design concept, but black-on-white white-on-dark are easy to read anyway without the headlines being that big.

    The effect is of taking up a lot of space 'showing' and telling' rather more than is needed.

    Does 'Events and Tickets' need that much space on the homepage? It would be more useful to have a box with a link to The Radio 3 Forum :o) http://www.for3.org/forums/

  • Comment number 6.

    The HD link works from Firefox but not from Google Chrome.

  • Comment number 7.

    Re HD: It didn't work for me with Firefox 5 (but did with Safari). I uninstalled Adobe Flash Player and reinstalled. Now the HD button works in Safari and Firefox.

    But it still doesn't work with Opera and Camino (I'm on a Mac) where I just get a message to 'Download Adobe Flash Player to view this page'.

    With Firefox I simply got a succession of pop-up Help boxes.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sincere apologies about the broken HD sound link. We fixed first thing this morning, so it should work as normal across all browsers now. Really sorry for frustration caused, we added too many redirects away from the old site, hence why you were seeing the help page.
    The HD 'pop up' needs Flash. If you use multiple browsers, it's my experience that Flash may need seperately installing for each. Beyond the scope of this post to go into more detail, but there should be advice out there.

  • Comment number 9.

    sorry to pour cold water on all the excitement, however I think the new website is pants :(
    i can't find anything, not even a home page button! the HD button still doesn't work despite claims that it has been fixed, and i now have someone telling me that due to rights restrictions this part of the programme is unavailable.
    come on BBC, you can do better than this!

  • Comment number 10.

    I was doubtful that the HD button had been fixed. It did not work for me in IE9 or Chrome. However it did work in FireFox, Safari and Opera. The problem seems to be that the browser caches the redirection to the help page. It was easy to fix in Chrome by clearing the caches. It worked in IE9 on a machine where I had not tried the new site in its broken state.

    I could not find where IE9 had it cached. I could make it work by turning off protected mode - but that is not a good thing to do. The solution was to navigate to it using the https protocol. That caused a redirection to the correct address and overwrote the duff cached version - after which everything worked as it should.

    So try https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/hd-sound/ You should only need to do it once and then the button in the web page may be fixed.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well I posted a comment a couple of days ago about links that don't work. But that message hasn't appeared ...

    Just a thought but it might have been a reasonable plan to test out ALL of the mechanics of the earlier site ( where there were loads of ancient broken links ) before automatically reinstating them on the new one.


    I noticed the other day a selection of messages where listener/licence payers voiced an assortment of complaints. Can't seem to find those (off)messages either. Very odd ...

  • Comment number 12.

    The site looks attractive and I can find all I want on it. But you have made the same mistake as your colleagues on the News website last year, which they eventually changed because of many protests - the lack of a left margin to the pages makes them very difficult to read. Please can we have a small gap to the left of the text to define it better

  • Comment number 13.

    I would like to listen the archives of classical music. Have they been removed ?

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't suppose there's any possibility of displaying diacritics properly? If not (and if not, why not?), it's better to omit them than posting incomprehensible gibberish as here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ntbn3 :

    Kalējs kala debesīs (Blacksmith hammered in the sky)
    Ov’é lass’, il bel viso?
    György Orbán
    Ne óuri, ne sejaj

    That said, much commonly available free software is able to cope with this and Radio 3 should do so as a point of professionalism.

  • Comment number 15.

    Now the speech and drama page has been completely confused. I cannot now see what is coming up on DRAMA ON THREE, nor THE ESSAY; nor get to a page where all the programmes on DRAMA ON THREE, THE ESSAY, THE SUNDAY FEATURE, or BETWEEN THE EARS currently available on the IPlayer are listed. I have to go through the schedule page to find them. Who said that 'new' was 'better'?

  • Comment number 16.

    @laurenceraw On the Arts and Drama page there is a module (on the left hand side under Listen) listing all current iPlayer programmes with those programmes included.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes, Paul (message 11), I posted a less than laudatory comment a few days back and that has disappeared. I do not like the new website or the creeping move towards a merged Radio 3 and Radio 2 that it seems to represent. Maybe I'll be able to get a comment out of RW when I next see him, maybe not.


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