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What's not obvious about Radio Pop at first glance and some answers to questions that you might have

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Tristan Ferne | 15:45 UK time, Friday, 5 September 2008

Listening

When using Radio Pop you have to actually listen to live radio through the Radio Pop player in order for it to track your listening. But this might not be convenient because I'm sure you listen to the radio in other ways; Listen Again, your bathroom radio, podcasts etc. We initially made a decision that you wouldn't be able to add listening after the fact, partly because this is designed to be a prototype of what an actual service integrated into the BBC's offerings would be like. At the last minute, however, we added a sneaky feature that lets you add programmes that you heard on the radio when you weren't using Radio Pop. But we have deliberately made it a bit convoluted - first, go to your Radio Pop Listen page and click on the "Add your listening »" link. Then go over to our /programmes site, find the episode of the programme you listened to, copy the URL and paste it into the box on that page. Voila! The programme will be added to your listening profile.

Radio Pop manual listening

Unfortunately Radio Pop doesn't yet support Listen Again, but it has been built to support on-demand listening and we hope to include this in a later release.

Radio Pop uses RealPlayer for the live streams so you must have RealPlayer correctly installed - so if you've got the player up, it seems to be working but you can't hear anything then check RealPlayer. You can find out more about how to install RealPlayer in this guide (though note that we are not currently supporting Windows Media Player). There have been reports that the player and the widget don't work correctly on OS X. Luckily over on The Unnofficial Apple Weblog one of the commenters, Christian, says...

"The problem of the BBC radio widget(s) (there are several of them) not continuing to play after Dashboard is closed on Leopard is a problem with RealPlayer 11. If you downgrade RealPlayer to version 10, the BBC radio widgets work fine."

Data

All the data from Radio Pop is open and anyone can see what you're listening to. We've done this because we think that makes the service more powerful. The internet works best when it connects people and data, and by making all of your listening data available openly this allows others to remix, re-use and aggregate the listening into more and more sites and products - hopefully into things which we haven't even imagined. See Chris's post yesterday for more information on the APIs available.

Social networking and radio

Radio Pop is a niche social networking site built around the social object of the radio programme. At the moment it's aimed at early adopters and alpha geeks who love radio. In the future it should be for anyone who loves radio. Radio Pop is BBC radio only at the moment, but we are working with the radio industry on how we could build similar services in the future. And, obviously I guess, it should work with TV as well. Maybe this is what's to come - different social networking sites for different niches. But ideally they should be interoperable - you don't have to have to enter all your friends again every time you sign up for a new one. That's a challenge for the web and the BBC.

Your feedback

We've had loads of feedback, most of it good, and thanks to all of you who've emailed us or commented. Here are some answers to some common questions...

Can Radio Pop be integrated into last.fm so it scrobbles tracks you hear on the radio?
If you follow Radio Labs you'll know that Chris built a widget that scrobbles to last.fm so it's certainly possible. This would be a perfect place to use OAuth btw.

Can you link the Pop button to the current song?
Yes, that's our intention - your Pops will link to the songs that were playing. We're looking at how we can implement that but it might be a little while.

How do I find my friends on Radio Pop?
It's not completely obvious at the moment - sorry! There are two ways - first, on your friends page you can enter an email address of a friend to see if they're signed up, if not then it will send them an invite email and automatically connect you. Secondly, just send them your profile URL (http://www.radiopop.co.uk/users/<your_username>) and they'll be able to add you from there.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "But we have deliberately made it a bit convoluted - first, go to your Radio Pop Listen page and click on the "Add your listening »" link."

    Deliberately? Why!?

    The hassle of this is bizarre. It seems you want to dictate how people use the service and what it is used for. Fair enough if you want to build a "good/solid" service, but a really bad idea if you want it to really take off.

    Sure Twitter is ropey but it's got incredible traction and uptake.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, maybe. We didn't have time to build a fully featured interface for adding your listening so it's a manual process that's a bit hidden away. If you want to add programmes listened in other ways and you're happy browsing /programmes for them then you should be fine. If not, then you'll have to stick with live listening for now.

 

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