Using the BBC iPlayer Radio App

So far, we've shown you how to search for content on BBC iPlayer Radio, listen to pre-recorded programs, and download podcasts.  Now, we'll show you how to listen to BBC radio live, right on the iPlayer Radio website.  You can listen to all of the BBC's major stations across the United Kingdom, as well as local BBC branches, and even some non-BBC stations!

Doing so requires knowing how to use the BBC iPlayer Radio app.  Though there are versions of this application for your desktop or mobile device, there is also one that works right on the BBC iPlayer Radio website.  This lesson will give you a tour of how it works.

How to start listening to live BBC radio through BBC iPlayer Radio

  1. Go to www.bbc.co.uk/radio in your web browser.  Click the Stations drop-down menu, and then click the logo of the BBC station that you want to start listening to. 

    Selecting a BBC iPlayer Radio station to listen to

    (NOTE: If you want to listen to a non-BBC station instead, don't worry.  This process is just a quick way to get the BBC iPlayer Radio app up and running, after which you can switch to any station that you like.)

  2. If the station that you selected is currently on air, click Listen Live to launch the BBC iPlayer Radio app and begin listening to that station.

    How to listen to a BBC iPlayer Radio station live

How to use the BBC iPlayer Radio app

  1. You should now have the BBC iPlayer Radio app open in your web browser.  Let's start by learning the commands below the header.

    BBC iPlayer Radio app main controls

    Click Favourite (the heart icon) to add or remove the current station from your "My Stations" list (we'll discuss this more in step 4).  Click the Play/Pause button to start or stop listening to the broadcast.  You can also click the Volume button to mute or unmute the player, or click on one of the sound wave graphics next to this button to adjust the player's volume.

  2. Click Schedule to see the programs being aired today for this station.  If a program has the BBC iPlayer Radio logo beside it, you can click the logo to listen to it without having to wait for it to come on the air!  (See our How to Browse and Play BBC iPlayer Radio Programs tutorial.)

    How to browse available stations and their schedules on the BBC iPlayer Radio app

    You can also click Stations to get a drop-down menu with other BBC stations that you can listen to.  Click on one to quickly switch to it.

  3. Underneath all this, you will see the program information.  You can click the green Share button and choose to share a link to this 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.)

    How to share or find more information on the current BBC iPlayer Radio app program

    You can also click View Programme Page to go to the webpage for the current program on the BBC iPlayer Radio website.  For some programs, you may also be able to click More Episodes and select a different episode of the current program to listen to in the BBC iPlayer Radio app.

  4. Click the three bars in the top-left corner of the BBC iPlayer Radio app to browse other stations, through the use of four menus.

    How to browse other available BBC iPlayer Radio app stations

    My Stations shows you stations that you have marked as your "Favourites" (as described in step 1 of this section).  Recent shows you stations that you have listened to previously.  Recommended shows you stations that you might like, based on which ones you have previously listened to or have added to your "My Stations" list.  And A-Z List shows you an alphabetical list of all stations available for listening through the BBC iPlayer Radio app (click a letter underneath the menu -- the "#" sign indicates station titles beginning with numbers -- to skip to that part of the list).

    You can also click the Favourite icon beside any station to add it to your "My Stations" list (or remove it, if you are viewing your "My Stations" list).

  5. You can also click in the box labelled "Search U.K. Radio" and type in something specific that you're looking for. 

    How to search for BBC iPlayer Radio app stations and programs

    You can click results under "Suggested Stations" to go to stations whose names most closely match your search terms, or that have programs on right now whose names most closely match your search terms.  You can also click the results under "Suggested Catch Up" to listen to pre-recorded programs whose titles most closely match your search terms.

    If you don't see what you're looking for among the suggested results, click the magnifying glass icon to search for all results containing your search terms.

  6. If you decide for search for all results containing your search terms, you can use the menus underneath the search bar to filter your results.

    How to filter and access BBC iPlayer Radio app search results

    All shows you all station names, program names, or program descriptions that contain your search terms.  Live will only show you content that is on the air right now.  Catch Up only shows you pre-recorded content that you can listen to on demand.

    Click on a station name to begin playing that station, or the chosen program.  For content that is available live, you can click the Favourite button beside the result to add that station to your "My Stations" list (see step 4 in this section).

Those are the ins and outs of using the BBC iPlayer Radio app to listen to live UK radio!

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More BBC iPlayer Radio Tutorials

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