Radio fans will now be able to listen to their favourite shows from the BBC and a host of other commercial stations on a single platform from today thanks to the launch of Radioplayer.
While around 4.5 million people tune in to internet radio every week, the Beeb reckons many more will access shows on the new platform, which offers UK radio in one place, a cross-industry search function and the ability for users to save their favourite stations and programmes.
Essentially, the platform is a bit like a radio version of the forthcoming YouView IPTV platform as it allows users to search across content providers and rival stations. The BBC said that the search facility will also be refined and expanded in ‘the coming months'.
The service offers 5 ways to search: by station, programme, location, presenter and topic as well as on-demand offerings, ‘listen again' and podcasts.
As well as national and local BBC stations, big commercial radio stations including Global's Capital and Heart networks plus Smooth and Absolute Radio are available.
Bauer Media and UTV Media-owned stations will also be joining Radioplayer within a week of its launch, taking the total number of stations available on the platform from 157 to 228.
Stations joining the platform in its second week of roll-out include: Planet Rock, Manx Radio, Fun Kids and Global Traffic as well as plenty of local, community and student stations.
A big focus of the platform is on accessibility and intuitive functionality and users will be able to flick between stations and store favourites as pre-sets just like on a household digital radio.
According to the Beeb, radio firms are counting on the platform to become ‘a vital component' of the industry's multiplatform digital future alongside DAB. There are plans to make Radioplayer available on smartphones and tablets and it is already confirmed as a content advisory partner for YouView.
The platform will use stations' existing audio streams to leave stations in charge of their own content, with commercial stations able to add sponsorship and advertising to their ‘skins' page.
"Radioplayer's strength is a simple, powerful offer to listeners: all of radio in one place. This partnership is another signal that the radio industry is accelerating cross-industry innovation," said Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio and Music.
Andrew Harrison, Chairman of UK Radioplayer, added: "Radioplayer will benefit the entire UK radio industry - BBC, commercial and all Ofcom-licensed community, hospital and student radio. Every station on Radioplayer will be one click away from every other station, and listeners will have the ability to search the whole of UK radio, discovering exciting new content. All stations will be treated equally, and the smallest station will pay the least to join. We're aiming for the whole of UK radio to be on Radioplayer within a year."