BBC launches iPlayer Radio

The BBC has given its online audio content a facelift with the launch of iPlayer Radio.

The revamped service is now completely separate from BBC iPlayer, and is available on both desktop and mobile.

Its new structure is designed to draw attention to handpicked BBC material, as well as related video and social media content from associated DJs. There will also be more emphasis on live shows rather than catch-up.

An iPhone iPlayer Radio app has also been launched, and will have to be downloaded separately from the established iPlayer app. It is equipped with mobile-friendly features, such as an alarm clock and reminders for your chosen shows.

The corresponding app for Android is not ready, with Daniel Danker, general manager for BBC programmes and on-demand, blaming complications with Flash for the hold-up. No such app is yet under development for Blackberry and Windows Phone, though their (and other non-iOS) users will still be able to access iPlayer Radio in web browsers.

Mark Friend, controller of multiplatform and interactive for BBC's Audio and Music department said, "Our next steps will be to make live radio more interactive, make it easier for people to enjoy the BBC's vast audio archive and strengthen radio's position as the number one place for discovering music in the UK."

The app is set to compete directly with UK Radioplayer, another recently released radio app which is actually backed by the BBC, amongst other commercial broadcasters.

However, James Cridland, managing director of Media UK, saw no reason for conflict between the two, as he believes they offer very different things and could even complement each other. According to him, "UK Radioplayer's app is all about discovery, finding new radio, finding new content to listen to", whereas "iPlayer Radio is about getting closer to the brands that people already know and like."

The new service will not be available abroad or in the absence of an Internet connection.