Editor's note: Mike Hill leads a project to build a unified player for all of the UK's radio stations online. An easy way to find and listen to every Ofcom-licenced radio station in one place - SB
Today at the annual Radio Festival we unveiled a fully working 'alpha' Radioplayer. The fact that we're showing our 'work in progress' to the great and the good of the radio industry speaks volumes about the spirit behind this project.
We've never pretended to be doing anything but 'making it up as we go along'. It's amazing that such a game-changing initiative has attracted widespread support from across radio - an industry not always noted for its unanimity.
This is largely down to the spirit in which we've approached the project - which in itself was largely invented 'on the hoof'.
- We've kept it mass-market. The early audience research helped with this. We got a very strong message from ordinary radio listeners about how they wanted to listen online.
- We've made it egalitarian. Radioplayer is a true 'level playing field', with the largest and the smallest stations existing side by side. The 'barriers to entry' are as low as we could get them, while maintaining quality.
- We've stayed true to Radio. Two knobs and five presets - the car radio came up time and time again in our research, as being the epitome of simplicity. Radio is simple, so Radioplayer is simple.
- We've taken a light touch. There are very few rules in Radioplayer. Four guidelines keep the main controls consistent for the user, but beyond that, freedom and innovation reign.
- We take one baby-step at a time. Very important when you're working in a complex partnership. Build the trust and the foundations gradually, and the model will evolve out of the goodwill you generate.
I hope our 'work in progress' will find favour. Even with just our five 'guinea pig' stations, you can see the potential for a simple but powerful way of listening to the radio. There are now new hurdles - I'm kept awake at night by the logistical challenge of helping hundreds of stations to skin and deploy their Radioplayer consoles. I'm sure there will still be wobbles - but we'll get through them if we stay true to the spirit and the vision of delivering 'one simple player for UK Radio'.
Mike Hill is Managing Director UK Radioplayer Ltd
- Further insights and news from the project on Mike's Radioplayer blog
- Mike created the screencast demonstration of Radioplayer himself
- "BBC and Commercial Radio unveil industry wide Radioplayer" BBC Press release. Nov 19th 2010 announcing the project.