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Radio Pop - social radio listening

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Tristan Ferne | 14:14 UK time, Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Today we are launching Radio Pop - social radio listening from BBC Radio Labs.

Radio Pop Home

Sign up to Radio Pop and we will store your listening to BBC Radio. You can then see graphs, charts and lists of your listening, get recommendations from your friends, share your tastes and browse around to see what other people are hearing right now. Radio Pop is an experimental prototype built by the Radio Labs team - we're doing this to learn things about radio and social software. We don't yet know how long it will remain live and we make no guarantees as to its reliability or performance but we will do our best to make it better over time and welcome your feedback either in the comments or by email.

Whenever you listen to live BBC radio through Radio Pop (either within the site or with a widget) it will store what and when you listened. We can then use this data in a number of ways. Firstly, you can see a history of what you listened to - maybe you'd like to go back to last week or even last year and see what you heard. Secondly, there are at-a-glance statistics and graphs on your Radio Pop profile page showing your favourite radio networks and programmes. Have a look at the profile pages for tristanf and fridayforward to get an idea of what you will get. You can also share your data - show off your stats, watch your friends' RSS feeds for recommended radio shows or add a badge to your blog that shows the world when you're listening.

Radio Pop profile

Radio Pop is social software. Just like the many social networking sites out there you can add your friends to Radio Pop - then you can see their listening, subscribe to their latest programmes feed or even see the aggregated favourite networks of all your friends. Finally, you can check everyone's stats to see the aggregated listening of everyone who is using Radio Pop.

Radio Pop player

As well as listening to the radio you can Pop the radio! Hit the Pop button in the Radio Pop player when you hear something you like or just want to remember it. We'll remember that and it to your list of Pops. It's a bit like bookmarks for radio.

Finally a bit of development history - we built the initial prototype about a year ago. Since then we have been developing it further so it's ready for launch. Mint Digital were brought in to rebuild the server-side architecture and code to make sure it would be robust and scalable. Then we took their code on and Chris has made a number of feature improvements while Tom has given it a lick of design-paint to make it into something a bit more usable. We hope you like it.

Note: Radio Pop only supports the following browsers: Firefox 2, Firefox 3, Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, Opera 9 and (almost) Google Chrome. We can't guarantee performance, functionality or aesthetics in any other browsers.


  • Comment number 1.

    Nice service, bad name (too easily confusable with pop as in pop music).

  • Comment number 2.

    Very cool. I hope this does become a full fledged service, not just a beta, and say will eventually track content listened to automatically on iPlayer, maybe recommending new shows...

    Not used it much so far, but liking it - very cool, lots of potential... like, what would be very cool, is I'm listening to Radio 1, and hear a song I like, I hit pop, and as /programmes/ and /music/ are linked tracking the songs on radio (well, tracking some shows/stations) - and so I could see what songs I particularly liked.

    Would also like to see more information on the Radio Pop player about what show is on now, possibly showing Live Text for the stations that do it, and maybe a bookmarklet to open the player in a new window.

    I don't mean to be "oh it's not got much" with this comment, but it's really because the potential for this is huge, it seems fantastic.

  • Comment number 3.

    Ah, OpenID quick question. This is the first site I've signed up with, does this mean I can use the Radio Pop login for other OpenID sites?

  • Comment number 4.

    Thanks for the suggestions JonathanExplorer - added to the list. Re OpenID; we're only an OpenID consumer which means we will accept registration with an OpenID from an OpenID provider, but we're not an OpenID provider ourselves. Bit complicated - https://openid.net/ for more.

  • Comment number 5.

    I like it. What would be great is if this could somehow hook-up with Last.fm.

    Any plans to add the regional BBC Radio stations?

  • Comment number 6.

    Nice work! We're developing a social radio tuner as well, it is called Streema: https://www.streema.com and we've got a Facebook app too. Check them out, we love feedback!

  • Comment number 7.

    After playing with popping, which is very cool, what I'd like to see is maybe on https://www.radiopop.co.uk/pops/0aa72e8b636ba1fad132fbcdf7ce0279 to know when people popped it, and a button to listen to the show on iPlayer... from those points - making the idea of it being a bookmark really... well, work well.

    I've got other sorts of ideas bussling in my head, like an extended popup player showing what friends are listening to, but Radio Pop's beauty is in its simplicity... I get the feeling me keeping on suggesting things, the version I'm coming up with would be far from that XD

  • Comment number 8.

    Why are R Ulster/Scotland etc not included and when will it happen?

  • Comment number 9.

    One minor problem I've spotted is that it's listing the wrong programmes. I'm listening to the US Open tennis on 5 Live and it's showing up as 606 and Richard Bacon. I guess that's because of a change of schedule?

  • Comment number 10.

    A very interesting project that I hope will develop. I've had no joy in being able to use my openID even after signing up the conventional way (I've tried a number of my own open ID's). That aside I look forward to using this.

  • Comment number 11.

    Will hook on in from convenient time to time;am biased towards the radio/wireless,( yes that old).
    To know how to run, and programme for tomorrow and thereafter requires research and good management- hence I plus mark this site.
    Tom Edinburgh

  • Comment number 12.

    @JonathanExplorer - thanks for the suggestions. Keep them coming!

    @allybalder - for this prototype we're only supporting the national radio stations, we might include more in the next revision.

    @PlasticGloryHunter - not sure, we'll keep an eye on it.

    @Emalyse R - sorry about that, not sure what's wrong. Has anyone else had OpenID problems?

    Thanks everyone.

  • Comment number 13.

    It seems odd that what you're currently listening to (and how long for) isn't on the listens page (eg https://www.radiopop.co.uk/users/frankieroberto/listens%29.

    I know it's at the top right (alongside the tab), but it's easy to miss there.

    It'd be nice to see your 'top programmes' chart (in profile) include your currently-listening-to info too.

  • Comment number 14.

    Perhaps your listens shouldn't register until you have been listening for over a minute or so? This is similar to how Last.fm works, allowing you to skip tracks without them registering as having been listened to.

    For example, I might click on a few stations in the space of a minute or two just to see what's on. Each of these will register in my listening, even if I decide I don't actually want to listen to them.

  • Comment number 15.

    PlasticGloryHunter: a quick glance at the code shows that the site only polls what you're listening to every minute - so some might be missed, but you can also delete stuff.

  • Comment number 16.

    Great idea. Having a few problems with the implementation though.

    Neither the widget or the website would play on my Mac (OS X 10.5.4).

    After much playing around, I realised it was RealPlayer that was missing. Once that was downloaded, the website works great.

    Still can't get the widget to work though. I'm authorised, and when I click a station it says "Playing" but I can't hear anything....

  • Comment number 17.

    A very good start on the widget front but needs some tweaking.

    I wish it continued to play once I exit dashboard instead of me having to drag it to desktop in DevMode.

    and its not the prettiest widget in the world.
    Though the listen live widget has never worked for me the look of it beats this widget hands down


  • Comment number 18.

    This service looks promising.By adding friends and being able to see their playlists, it creates a whole new world of music discovery. It's important that you support lossless formats in my opinion. Internet radio has really picked up some steam and often times the fidelity is worse than that of AM.

    Just my two cents.
    Adam@ Athena Institute.com


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