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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC and commercial radio unveil industry-wide Radioplayer

The BBC and commercial radio today unveiled a new online radio player that aims to offer the output of every licensed UK radio station and to let users search this content by subject, musical style, or even song title.

The UK Radioplayer, due for launch early next year, is a pop-up console which will be open to stream more than 400 licensed national, local, community and student radio stations, offering a unique, constantly updated live and on-demand audio service.

It allows listeners to search every station on the UK Radioplayer network, identifying news programmes, sports highlights, musical genres or even individual songs, using a revolutionary new search engine designed for radio.

Users can store their favourite stations on pre-set buttons, for easy access.

The announcement comes as the industry revealed that that Heads of Terms for the project have been signed by the BBC, RadioCentre, Global Radio and Guardian Media Group.

The player is launched through radio stations' websites, where the console presents a simple, consistent experience and encourages listeners to discover new content. It has a standard look and functionality, irrespective of which station is being listening to.

Stations which choose to join the Radioplayer will have the freedom to accompany their live streams with additional material of their choice – on-demand audio, click-to-buy music services, webcams, track listings, adverts or the weather, for example.

In the first instance, the service will be made available to all Ofcom-licensed networks.

It will initially be available through desktop computers, with later versions intended for smartphones and other internet-connected devices like IPTVs.

All BBC radio services will be included in the player, subject to the Corporation's approvals process.

The UK Radioplayer follows discussions in the Radio Council about how the industry might deliver cross-sector digital projects. The player will be launched subject to consultation with the BBC Trust and RadioCentre board.

Announcing the plans today, senior figures from across the industry commented:

Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio & Music, said: "This is a really exciting development and a result of focused, collaborative thinking within the radio industry. The aim of this service is to grow listening across the industry and help preserve radio's unique position."

Ashley Tabor, Global Group Founder and CEO, said: "Radioplayer has been developed with the listener in mind and is a big step forward for the radio industry as a whole, providing further cohesion between commercial radio and the BBC as we drive to Digital."

Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive, RadioCentre, said: "The Radioplayer brings together all of the UK's radio output in one online console. This is a breakthrough for listeners and an attractive new proposition for advertisers."

Stuart Taylor, Chief Executive, GMG Radio, said: "This collaborative project reflects the industry's commitment to an improved user experience for radio online as IP-enabled devices proliferate. The new opportunities for advertisers will add to the growing number of cross-platform solutions already in place."

JA

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