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Announcing Radioplayer

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Mike Hill Mike Hill | 13:55 PM, Tuesday, 19 October 2010

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'.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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


  • Comment number 1.

    Wow even more good news from the BBC. Please can we access to this tomorrow and can we have a version for mobiles. On my Android I have to use iplayer on my browser in non mobile mode to get live radio. Can we have HD streams as well.

    How about scrapping the obsolete DAB radio system.

  • Comment number 2.

    Just visited the site and was very disappointed to read that the meta data to be used is based on the obsolete DAB radio meta data. DAB radio has been rejected throught Europe so what is the point of restricting the meta data to that of a legacy system.

  • Comment number 3.

    As I understand it the BBC will underwrite most of the costs of DAB rollout to match FM as part of the new licence fee settlement, so no scrappage.

  • Comment number 4.

    Why has it taken over a year to write a simple pop-up player?

    Has its launch been deliberately delayed until after Xmas so that the BBC can show its 25th TV advertising campaign for the obsolete DAB system in the run-up to Xmas?

    Where's the pause, rewind and fast-forward buttons?

    Have all the commercial radio groups agreed to provide their streams at a reasonable level of audio quality, or are you allowing ridiculously tight-fisted broadcasters' stations to be included as well?

    How can you described this as being "egalitarian" when you freely admit that you only allow Ofcom-licensed radio stations to join?

    If "freedom and innovation reign", why are using the obsolete DAB system's meta data model, as trevorjharris said?

  • Comment number 5.


    If the BBC puts a single penny towards commercial radio broadcasters' costs of rolling out their DAB transmitter networks, the BBC should be taken to court for defrauding the public. And I don't care what Ed Vaizey says.

  • Comment number 6.

    The commitment to DAB radio would be an increadable waist of licence payers money. First I do not believe it is technically possible to have the same coverage as FM. DAB uses higher frequencies which do not penetrate walls as well as FM. Also DAB does not have sufficient error correction and so DAB would need thousands of filler stations to give the same coverage as FM. The BBC has also been misleading people about both to capital cost and the running costs of DAB. All this for an inferior sound quality to that of FM. Insane!!. For a detailed analysis of this insanity see Grant Goddards Blog:

    He has also written a book "Licenced to Fail"

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    No more about DAB here, please, digitalradiotech and trevorjharris. You're off-topic and six comments between the two of you on one blog post is overdoing it.

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor


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