City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Radio Player v2: It’s all about the content

Written in


We launched a new version of the BBC Radio Player today. Go to or and click the ‘Launch BBC Radio Player’ button to see/hear it.

It’s just live, so there’s inevitably a few tweaks and errors to fix (i.e. erroneous scroll bars in Mac Safari and Firefox etc.) – please bear with us. But this one is a huge step forward in terms of the amount of BBC radio content you can now access. We’ve tried to foreground the content rather than features in this version, whilst improving the navigation. We’re also enabling browsing whilst listening, which has necessitated the use of framesets, but this reinforces a coherent approach across our emerging ‘family of on demand products’ (News Player, Sport Player etc.). There’s over 500 hours of quality programming in there, across networks and genres:

"Newly available programmes include: Colin & Edith, Jo Whiley and Vernon Kay (Radio 1); Steve Wright, Sarah Kennedy and Ken Bruce (Radio 2); Morning on 3 and Performance on 3 (Radio 3); Ace & Invisible and Rampage (1Xtra); Night Train (6 Music); Midday News (Five Live); and Drive with Nikki Bedi and Breakfast with Gagan Grewal (Asian Network)."

"The new Radio Player also features live streaming of every one of the BBC’s English local radio and national stations: Radio Scotland and Radio Nan Gaidheal; Radio Wales and Radio Cymru; Radio Ulster and Radio Foyle; all 40 of the BBC’s local radio stations."

More here: BBC Press Office

There are a few little apps-type extras in there – watch for a minimise button appearing soon, for instance, for those worried about the increased size of the player; plus a ‘resume listening where you left off’ function; plus a brand new back-end – and then we move right on to development of a yet more sophisticated version (possibles: personalisation, ratings, multiple formats etc.).

But hope you like the improvements for now, and agree with the approach of getting the content out there clearly. As ever, I’d be interested in your reactions. Major tip of the hat to our teams here, particularly Dawn Budge, Conal Jones, Andy Maclarty, Neil Slater, Dan Taylor, Jamie Tetlow and others who helped out on it.


12 responses to “Radio Player v2: It’s all about the content”

  1. juniorbonner Avatar

    Majorly impressed with the new Radio Player, looks great and a lot easier to use – a lot of good work, thanks and well done.
    So much stuff to listen to as well, thank god for Blogmatrix Sparks I can listen to a huge range of shows whilst out and about too.
    Do you think eventually you will increase the length of time shows are archived for?


  2. DJ Alchemi Avatar

    User interface for on-demand radio

    A couple of days ago the BBC launched Version 2 of its successful BBC Radio Player. Rather than attempt a review — except to say it seems to be an…


  3. Frankie Roberto Avatar

    Looks very good. The only thing I’d say is that with all this new content, it would be helpful if there was an easy an obvious way for people (like bloggers) to be able to link to specific programmes on the radio player, without having to tell people to ‘go to the X website and click on X then X then X’.


  4. London Dan Avatar

    I really like the new service but where has the ‘What’s on now and next’ part gone to? That was a very handy feature but it seems to have been pulled from the player, leaving just the link to Listen Live.


  5. Dan Avatar

    Hi all – thanks for the comments. Frankie, we’re working on ways to help people link to specific shows. The ‘social life of a broadcast’ stuff we’re working on – now seen on the Radio 3 site – enables people to link direct to specific instances of shows. We’ll be working on getting the appropriate direct links to the audio on those pages. This should help the bloggers example you suggest – something we’re very interesting in addressing.
    As to the ‘now and next’, we’re working on pulling that back in. We had an issue with the system which supplies that information last week. We’re on it.
    As to the length of time shows are archived for, that’s complex. Some shows we are/will be able to extend beyond a week; others not. Again, we’re working on new policies in this area. Watch that space.


  6. Reya Avatar

    What I can see of it looks great. What I can see of it, that is, before it crashes Firefox, every single time I try to launch it. I’ve been having issues with Real Player anyway, but presumably as the BBC Player is a standalone app, that ought to have no bearing on the matter?


  7. Dan Avatar

    Hi Reya (tried to email you but the address didn’t work?)
    Not sure why this should be … We’ve thoroughly tested in Firefox, and it should work fine – what system are you using? And what problems are you having with RealPlayer? As we do use the Real plugin (and Windows Media for some services) then there is a dependency there …
    If you can give me a little more info, I can see if we can help you out.


  8. Iggy Avatar

    Just wanted to say that I love the new radio player, but it is still having the same problems with Firefox that the old one had:
    I can listen to to the first thing that is clicked on directly from a web page (be it a live broadcast or an archived BBC World news bulletin). However, trying to go on from there to another programme does not seem to work: the player ap status changes to Connecting, the previous audio stream ends and nothing happens thereafter. Switching to Win Media player seems to help. Reloading, etc. Does not. If you quit Firefox and restart it seems to help. Works perfectly in IE.
    Using Firefox 1.03, Realplayer 10.5 under Win XP SP2.
    Please email if you’d like more info.


  9. Dan Karran Avatar

    Any updates on the ‘now and next’ information?
    I’m living off the radio player at the moment whilst writing my dissertation – I’m so glad to have all the stations at my fingertips.


  10. ben Avatar

    hi dan, sure this isn’t the place for this – but thought i’d tell someone 🙂 – when using mozilla the radio player doesn’t work properly – the forward, pause buttons don’t work. Maybe there is something I can do – other than have to use IE (which works). cheers, ben p.s. why aren’t more popular programs (the archers etc.) available as podcasts – you can record them, but it means you have to leave the comnputer on for the length of the program… just wondering. We live in France and couldn’t survive without the BBC Internet radio.


  11. Dan Avatar

    Trackbacks sent to this post at the time (before I turned trackbacks off):

    » User interface for on-demand radio from DJ Alchemi
    A couple of days ago the BBC launched Version 2 of its successful BBC Radio Player. Rather than attempt a review — except to say it seems to be an… [Read More]


  12. Chris Mitch Avatar
    Chris Mitch

    My Safari crashes every time I press listen live.
    Running latest Safari and osx 10.4.9
    I want my beeb back!
    Please. xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: