Sunday, November 01, 2009

Making it easier to access BBC World Service on your internet radio

Lately we've been getting lots of emails enquiring about how to listen to BBC World Service on internet radios. Karl Kathuria, Head of Digital Delivery, introduces a new page on our website with all the information you need to listen:

From the number of emails we've received we know that internet radios are getting more and more popular.

During the first half of October, many internet radio owners wrote in to tell us that they could no longer hear BBC World Service, and were asking why we'd stopped making our internet audio available.

Internet radios are devices that connect to your home broadband connection, usually via Wi-fi, and play radio stations over the internet. Rather than being limited by stations based near to where you are, they can play any of thousands of stations from all over the world.

To get to our audio, internet radios have to read from a list of stations provided by the company that makes the device. Although we have no direct control over the links that are provided, we do work with manufacturers and database providers to provide up-to-date links.

What we found last month was that one particular database provider had an old link to BBC World Service that we hadn't kept up to date. It took us a while to find this out because of the range of different devices that we were told had problems, but they were all getting an audio loop from the BBC saying that there were no programmes. I got in touch directly with some of you and together we managed to figure out what was going wrong.

What can you do if your radio is still wrong?

In most cases, there will be a menu on your radio to help you refresh the station list. Some radios may need their firmware - the software that runs the radio - to be updated. To do this, you should be able to find instructions online or in the box your radio came in.

It is also usually possible to manually enter a link to the radio station you're trying to listen to. One of the things that we've learned from last month's problems is that it's not easy finding this information for BBC World Service. To make this easier for everyone from now on, we've created a page that contains all of the direct links to our audio.

We will keep these links up to date, and if we need to make any changes to the way we stream, we will make sure these continue to work.

As well as playing live radio stations, many internet radios can access our on-demand streams, so you can listen to the latest edition of our programmes at any time. Finding direct links to these has also been tricky for some of our listeners, so we're including them on our new 'how to' page as well.

Hopefully this new page will be useful to everyone with an internet radio, and will help you to find the programmes you're trying to hear.

Karl Kathuria is Head of Digital Delivery, BBC World Service Future Media.

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