Radio Labs - Closed for business

Jem Stone Jem Stone | 17:23 UK time, Monday, 11 October 2010

Zippy Shut Up.

Sorry but after 2 years the Radio Labs blog is now closed. The extensive archive will of course remain online and the BBC still has a number of blogs devoted to research and development, technology and radio. Blog posts about DAB, semantic web, radio streams, innovation using the BBC programmes platform, visualising radio and Radio Labs bloggers; Alan, Michael, Tristan and others who blogged here will continue to appear on other BBC blogs such as:

  • BBC Radio blog: "BBC Director of Audio & Music Tim Davie and his team explain their decisions, highlight changes and share important news from all of BBC radio.
  • BBC Internet blog: "Senior staff from the BBC's online and technology teams discuss issues raised by you about BBC Online, BBC iPlayer, the BBC's digital and mobile services, and the technology behind them.

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Jem Stone is Executive Producer, Social Media, BBC Audio and Music.

  • The photo "Zippy Shut Up" is by Steve Winton and is used under licence.
  • Podcast OPML - change

    Post categories:

    Alan Ogilvie Alan Ogilvie | 10:17 UK time, Wednesday, 28 April 2010

    Just a quick note to say that the OPML formatted feed that we have available for our Podcasts is having a slight format change.

    Because any change to the structure of an XML document like this will probably cause some minor headaches to you - we've set up a new feed in the new format, and kept the old one running for a while. This is notice that in a few weeks we'll simply redirect the old one to the new one.

    The new feed is available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/opml/bbc_podcast_opml_v2.xml

    A nice view of this can be seen via Optimal's OPML browser.

    A summary of the changes between the old (v1) and the new (v2):

    • We took out the top level 'BBC Station List' outline - it didn't make sense. So now the Radio Networks are the first thing in the XML.
    • We changed the outline node to better include the display name of the Radio network rather than the id - but kept the id for you in a new attribute called networkid. This makes it a bit more 'friendly' when just using a podcatcher that can directly read our OPML:
      • this (v1): <outline text="radio2" fullname="BBC Radio 2">
      • to this (v2): <outline text="BBC Radio 2" fullname="BBC Radio 2" networkid="radio2">
    • We changed the title of the OPML document for the same reason of 'friendliness' - from:
      • this (v1): BBC Podcast OPML
      • to this (v2): BBC Radio Podcasts
    • We didn't change outline/outline - the actual reference to the RSS feed for the podcasts. So you can be assured nothing changes there. As an example - here is a podcast outline picked from the latest feed - there is no difference from v1 to v2:
      • (v1): <outline type="rss" imageHref="http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/assets/artwork/oddcast.jpg" xmlUrl="http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio2/oddcast/rss.xml" imageHrefTVSafe="" text="Alex Lester's Oddcast" keyname="oddcast" active="true" allow="all" networkName="" networkId="" typicalDurationMins="15" page="http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/lester/" flavour="Programme Highlights" rsstype="" rssenc="" language="en-gb" description="Alex Lester's latest musings on 'Alex World', featuring listener contributions, taken from his Best Time Of The Day show, broadcast weekdays on Radio 2, 2-5am." bbcgenres="Comedy & Quizzes|Entertainment"/>
      • (v2): <outline type="rss" imageHref="http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/assets/artwork/oddcast.jpg" xmlUrl="http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio2/oddcast/rss.xml" imageHrefTVSafe="" text="Alex Lester's Oddcast" keyname="oddcast" active="true" allow="all" networkName="" networkId="" typicalDurationMins="15" page="http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/lester/" flavour="Programme Highlights" rsstype="" rssenc="" language="en-gb" description="Alex Lester's latest musings on 'Alex World', featuring listener contributions, taken from his Best Time Of The Day show, broadcast weekdays on Radio 2, 2-5am." bbcgenres="Comedy & Quizzes|Entertainment"/>

    RealMedia - follow up

    Post categories:

    Mark Kortekaas Mark Kortekaas | 15:30 UK time, Friday, 26 March 2010

    I wanted to update you on our previous statement about RealMedia deprecation.

    As I said in the previous post in October - we evaluate our streaming services against our four test of public value (Reach, Quality, Impact and Value) and those showed us that our RealMedia streaming services were something we need to continue to justify. The posting was to advise listeners that the RealMedia services would be discontinued.

    The date on which these services should be treated as deprecated is still the 30th of March 2010. We have kept an eye on the metrics we used to evaluate RealMedia for this, especially in the last few months, just in case these changed. One of our metrics was to monitor the trend for RealMedia usage compared to uptake of alternatives (Flash, Windows Media, 3G...) – and as expected, we've seen the steady decline of users requesting RealMedia over the alternatives. Indeed, on devices like Internet Radios, the majority of manufacturers have been offering our Windows Media streams, both Live and On-Demand, for some time now.

    All-in, our decision to deprecate RealMedia has not changed.

    What does this mean to you? It means that, if you haven't already done so, you should shift to using the other available services::

    • Internet Radios, Wifi Radios: all the common devices that we know about can make use of our Windows Media services, and communications with key manufacturers have allowed them to provide live and listen-again services on those devices. If you have one of these devices and this isn't working - speak to the manufacturer in the first instance.
    • Web: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/ - for UK listeners this offers you a high-quality version by default, though you can choose to listen to a low-bit rate stream (48kbps).
    • Mobile: 3GPP streaming is available on mobile - for more information check: "Can I access BBC iPlayer on my mobile phone?"
    • Alternative devices or other streaming players: "Where can I find the Windows Media streams to listen live to National BBC Radio?"

    While RealMedia streaming services have been with us since 1996 and helped pioneer the streaming media experience with us, this move largely completes the modernisation of our media formats.  This allows us to offer industry standards by platform and as a result of this simplification we’re hoping and expecting better reliability and a simpler user experience.

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