Major BBC streaming changes affecting BBC Radio Widget

Update: Despite how things looked, and what the iPlayer help pages said, RealPlayer has had a stay of execution from Auntie – for national stations, at least. Local and regional stations are not available any more as RealPlayer streams. Most have been replaced by a “Sorry, no longer available” audio message, but one or two are missing completely, and it’s these which can cause the undismissable dialogs and beachballs with RealPlayer plugin. I strongly recommend that everyone upgrades to the latest version, as Flash is now used by default. (RealPlayer is still available for some stations, but you have to choose to use it by option-clicking the widget’s “i” button.)

The original post remains below, unaltered.

The BBC  have removed RealPlayer streaming as an option for listening to their radio stations online. This has major ramifications for the widget.

In a nutshell: using RealPlayer streaming – the default mode – with BBC Radio Widget 4.03 may cause your computer to become unresponsive.

There’s an easy fix. Switch to Flash streaming, right now. Option-click the “i” button, and choose Flash. This will only work for national stations, though, and therefore you should avoid using regional and local stations on v4.03.

There’s good news too, though… Flash streaming now works internationally, so you can ignore the UK-only warning on the widget. Also, v4.1 of the Unofficial BBC Radio Widget is due for release within days, restoring streaming for all stations – as well as bringing improvements in Flash streaming reliability, schedule fetching, and many, many bug fixes. You can help test it, too, if you get in touch.

5 Responses to “Major BBC streaming changes affecting BBC Radio Widget”


  • Love and use your widget.
    Has the Beeb abandoned RealPlayer live?
    What about ?

  • Despite how things looked, and what the iPlayer help pages said, RealPlayer has had a stay of execution from Auntie – for national stations, at least. Local and regional stations are not available any more as RealPlayer streams. Most have been replaced by a “Sorry, no longer available” audio message, but one or two are missing completely, and it’s these which can cause the undismissable dialogs and beachballs with RealPlayer plugin. I strongly recommend that everyone upgrades to the latest version, as Flash is now used by default. (RealPlayer is still available for some stations, but you have to choose to use it by option-clicking the widget’s “i” button.)

    So, in short, steve, the BBC are in the process of abandoning RealPlayer. I’d guess they just found supporting several formats to be too much trouble, and chose to dump one. Flash is a good choice for their website, but it’s not very flexible (as it’s deployed by the BBC, anyway) for use in other contexts, like a Dashboard widget. Still, Mac users have never really been their number one priority, and the use of standard or open formats even less so.

  • Already upgraded, and love it. Listening in Thailand, I’d think that streaming is better with 4.11. Thanks for this brilliant piece of thing.

  • still having trouble done what you blog said got it working but it some times freezes and when it does cannot shut down. have to shut down the mac and re start.

  • Just one other issue – the schedules no longer seem to work – page not found (at least on Radio 4 and 5).

    Keep up the excellent work!

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