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 all-round improvement, notwithstanding the frames that make it more awkward to link to individual programmes — here is The Guardian’s assessment [free registration required] and an account from Dan Hill, who played a leading role in its development.
Stations (or channels) have less relevance in on-demand listening, except insofar as they map onto clear genres of programming. When it comes to music, I find great programmes on all five of the BBC’s music stations, and often on Radio 4 as well (many excellent music documentaries in the Tuesday 13.30 slot). Radio Player v2 allows users to browse by genre (the same genres the BBC Music site has been using for a while, plus documentaries), which is a major aid to cross-station listening for those (all?) of us who cannot regularly scour all the listings for all the stations.
What I’d like as an extra interface to the on-demand service would be a configurable RSS feed that allowed me to monitor programmes across all stations that might match my interests. Something akin to the iTunes Music Store RSS generator. And then (I don’t ask for much…) integrate this with the artist profiles, as I’ve touched on before, so I can refine my ‘watchlist’ to get alerts for any documentaries or features on my favourites artists (as Pollstar offers for live music).
[Update, 28 January — And the very next morning, BBC 6 Music launches a desktop alerts service, but it requires a special (Windows-only) download, does not integrate with standard monitoring technologies like email or newsreaders, and is tied to a single station as a ‘brand’. In every respect it’s the wrong way to go.]