BBC offers talk radio for the iPod generation

The iPod has already won over a generation of music and gadget lovers. Now the BBC is targeting a new army of the device's devotees who are more familiar with the tones of John Humphrys and Kate Adie.

The iPod has already won over a generation of music and gadget lovers. Now the BBC is targeting a new army of the device's devotees who are more familiar with the tones of John Humphrys and Kate Adie.

From this week, radio shows ranging from Today to From Our Own Correspondent can be obtained from the corporation's website and stored in the machine's memory. The practice, podcasting, is part of a trial by the BBC to gauge the appetite for listening to radio programmes on demand via an iPod or other MP3 player.

Podcasting allows people to download broadcasts from websites onto MP3 players and listen at their own convenience. It began at grassroots level in August last year as an audio version of internet "blogging", with enthusiasts recording and distributing their own shows.

The BBC has just concluded a trial offering MP3 downloads of Melvyn Bragg's Radio4 programme In Our Time, Radio Five Live's discussion show Fighting Talk and selected documentaries from the digital urban music station 1Xtra. The broadcasts were downloaded to MP3 players a total of 270,000 times in four months.

The success of the experiment has prompted the BBC to extend the trial to include extracts from 20 radio programmes, including the Today 8.10am interview, this year's Reith Lectures, Radio4's In Business, Five Live's Sportsweek, World Service documentaries and the weekly Gaelic Letter from BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal. These programmes will be available for download in an MP3 format until the end of the year, when the BBC will judge how widely used the service is and how much it costs, to help determine its future strategy.

Simon Nelson, controller of BBC radio and music interactive, said: "In Our Time and Fighting Talk did brilliantly well, but we want to test whether their success was down to novelty. I don't think that's true, but we want to test a wider range of genres and programmes across different networks and parts of the country.

"MP3 players are becoming increasingly available, particularly among audiences who don't traditionally listen to speech radio programmes. We want to make these programmes available to people who may find them of interest and educational.''

He added: "We like to think that in many aspects of taking radio digital and on-demand we are world leaders. If you look at a phenomenon like podcasting, there's no doubt we are riding on the efforts of grassroots activity that's grown up on the internet."

In August 2004, Adam Curry, a former MTV presenter, came up with the idea of transferring internet radio broadcasts from computer to iPod and set about developing software called iPodder that would allow him to achieve his ambition. A Google search for "podcast" now brings up more than four million results. Virgin Radio recently became the first UK station to offer a podcast of a daily show, making the links from its Pete & Geoff Breakfast Show available for MP3 download.

Music is a difficult area for podcasting because of copyright issues over the tracks played. The BBC is currently developing software that would allow people to download music radio shows to MP3 players for a limited period, but it has yet to reach agreement with rights holders. An internet music industry magazine, Record of the Day, is about to become one of the first UK websites to offer music podcasts. It has been able to crack the copyright issue by limiting its podcasts to five tracks a week, mainly from unknown artists to whom the record companies want to attract attention. Paul Scaife, publisher of Record of the Day, said: "Initially we will feature five tracks a week, with a DJ reading out reviews and a couple of interviews. It's great if the public listen to it and like it, but we are really aimed at the industry - people who can turn the tracks into hits."

Shows to download

*Today (Radio 4, daily) - 8.10am interview

* In Business (Radio 4, weekly)

* From Our Own Correspondent (Radio 4, weekly/twice weekly)

* In Our Time (Radio 4, weekly)

* Reith Lectures (Radio 4, run of six)

* Sportsweek (Radio Five Live, weekly)

* Fighting Talk (Radio Five Live, weekly)

* Rumour Mill (Radio Five Live, weekly)

* Mark Kermode film review slot (Radio Five Live, weekly)

* Radio 1 speech highlights - to be confirmed

* Go Digital (World Service, weekly)

* Documentary archive (World Service, twice weekly)

* TX documentaries (1Xtra, weekly)

* Gaelic Letter (BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal, weekly)

* TX Unlimited (1Xtra)

Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
Sport
footballAccording to revelations from Sergio Aguero's new biography
Life and Style
tech

News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Business Development Manager Content/Subscriptions

£50k + commission: Savvy Media Ltd: Great opportunity to work for a team that ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker