Browse + Play BBC iPlayer Radio Programs

You don't need to sign up for an account or pay any money to listen to programs on BBC iPlayer Radio, so let's get right to it!  This tutorial will give you a quick tour of the BBC iPlayer Radio website, including how to browse its various sections to find the program that you want to listen to, and what you can do once you find that program.

How to browse BBC iPlayer Radio programs

  1. Go to in your web browser.  In the sub-header, you will see a search box (we'll go over how to use it in our How to Search BBC iPlayer Radio tutorial) and some drop-down menus.

    Browse BBC iPlayer Radio content categories

    Ignore the Stations one for now; we'll get back to it when we show you how to listen to live radio in our How to Use the BBC iPlayer Radio App tutorial.  For now, you can click the Categories menu to show a list of program genres that you can browse; click All Categories to see a full list.

    NOTE: The Podcasts option is somewhat special; we'll go over it in our BBC iPlayer Radio Podcasts tutorial.

  2. You can also click the Schedules menu to see a list of all BBC stations.  Click on a station's logo to see previous, current, and upcoming programs for that station.

    Browse available stations on BBC iPlayer Radio

  3. You can also click to select programs directly from the Featured or Most Popular lists further down the page, or click More Featured or More Most Popular to see more of those types of programs.

    Access featured and popular content on BBC iPlayer Radio

  4. If you want to browse for BBC programs by category, you can use the options along the left-hand side of the screen to sort and filter your results.  (Note that not all options will be available at all times.)

    Sort and filter BBC iPlayer Radio content category results

    With the main filters, you can see all programs that are Available Now; Now and Next will show you programs that are available now and are coming up in the BBC's schedule (see step 5 for more on schedules).  Podcasts shows you programs that you can download to your computer and listen to whenever you want; we'll cover these in our BBC iPlayer Radio Podcasts tutorialAll Programmes will show you all programs that the BBC currently has available, including podcasts.

    The "Sort By" options allow you to sort programs by either alphabetical order or in order of the most recent episode that was aired.

    The "Filter By" filters allow you to narrow your browsing options according to sub-categories of programs.

    Click on a program to go to its page.

  5. If you select to see a BBC station's schedule, you can scroll up and down the screen to see what programs are airing at different times.  You can also use the calendar bar at the top (which will follow you up and down the screen as you scroll) to select which date you wish to see a schedule for.  The highlighted date is the one for which you are currently viewing a schedule; click a different date to switch to that day's schedule.

    Browse station schedule on BBC iPlayer Radio

    If a program has the pink BBC iPlayer Radio logo beside it, you can click on it to start listening to that program.  This will even work for some pre-recorded shows that have aired previously, even if they haven't yet aired that day!

How to play BBC iPlayer Radio programs

  1. Once you've made your way to the page of the program that you wish to listen to, click on the program's preview image to start playing it.  From there, you can press the Play/Pause button on the far left to start and stop the program, or click a part of the slider above to skip to a particular part of the program.  Beside the Play/Pause button, you can click the Volume button to mute or unmute the program, or move your mouse cursor over it and then click a point on the volume slider to adjust the volume.

    BBC iPlayer Radio program main controls

  2. You can also click the green Share icon and choose to share the current program over Digg, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon, or Twitter.  (You will be asked to log into the service that you choose, if you are not logged in already.)  The blue Favourites button next to that will add this program to your "favourites", if you have a BBC iD account and are logged in.  The pink Love button next to that allows you to "love" this program and show support for keeping it on the air.

    How to share or love a BBC iPlayer Radio program

    One other thing to note: clicking the other black square here will play the current program in the pop-out BBC iPlayer Radio application.  We'll explain how to use this in detail in our How to Use the BBC iPlayer Radio App tutorial.

  3. To the right of the player, you can click the station under "Last On" to go to the page for the BBC station that this program was most recently aired on.  Beneath that, you can also click Previous or Next to try playing the previous or next episode of this program (though it may not always be available).  Finally, you can click See All Episodes from [X] to view a list of all episodes of that program.

    How to find other episodes of a BBC iPlayer Radio program

That's how to find and play pre-recorded programs on BBC iPlayer Radio!


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