BBC reveals plans for online radio, as it builds two competing players

The BBC has revealed its plans for a new standalone online radio player, now that radio is to be booted from iPlayer.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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The BBC has revealed its plans for a new standalone online radio player, now that radio is to be booted from iPlayer. The scheme was outlined in a blog post today by Auntie Beeb's on-demand bod, Daniel Danker.

The as-yet-unnamed radio player, separated from iPlayer, will "play to the strengths of live radio". Danker revealed that most people who listen to radio on iPlayer tune into live broadcasts, rather than catching up with them later. The opposite is true of television content, with very little being watched live. A whopping 90 per cent of iPlayer TV requests are for catch-up programmes.

The new product will offer podcasts, which aren't currently available in iPlayer and have to be downloaded from station sites, the BBC podcast website or iTunes. There'll also be the obligatory social element, so you can interact with other listeners and share what you're listening.

Pages for stations and individual shows will "reflect the personality" of the announcers and show, with richer pages for flagship programmes and automated pages for niche shows, such as 1Xtra, 5 live sports extra and 6 Music.

The new player won't offer track-by-track streaming or bring together non-BBC third-party stations. That's the role of Radioplayer, a separate service the BBC is currently building.

Radioplayer is a joint initiative between the Beeb and commercial radio stations to put all Ofcom-licensed radio in one place. Radioplayer is currently in beta and is set to launch "very soon". We're not sure why two separate services are needed, but that may become apparent when they launch.

The new-look radio service was announced this week when BBC Online announced swingeing cuts. The Beeb's Web budget was chopped by a quarter, with 360 online jobs and more than 200 websites being axed.

Incidentally, Point Break is on iPlayer until 1.30am on Saturday. What are you still sitting here for?