BBC deliberately breaks its internet radio service


  • Editor’s note: a list of new BBC AAC HLS internet ratio streams can be found here.

Seems the BBC has decided to make all its AAC HLS streams only available to wealthy people who have Apple or similar devices. And the good old-fashioned “shoutcast” MP3 streams have gone altogether. Seems that if you can afford expensive American-logoed Chinese-made kit then you can listen to the BBC. If you register with the BBC’s awful website you can listen from there. However, if you use free open source software, then you cannot.

So, as a British person, running a British computer, I built myself, here in Britain, running British software such as Ubuntu, I’m not allowed to listen to the publicly-funded British Broadcasting Corporation on the media player on any of my machines. And if you are a 100% FOSS user, then neither are you! It will particularly displease users of our Internet Radio page, because many of the stations listed are now broken.

“Making BBC radio available to more listeners”

(by killing or encrypting its radio streams so most internet listeners can’t actually use them!)

BBC’s bizarre and mealy-mouthed explanation for its grotesquely unfair, unreasonable and profoundly anti-British decision can be found here…

Of course you can register with the BBC’s website and use its awful “iPlayer” thing (or whatever they call it these days) if you wish. But that requires registration and is hardly in the sprit of public service broadcasting. Who wants to sign in to a website, just to listen to the radio? And what of all those millions of internet radio players out there that are now useless?

Fortunately, it seems that at least some of BBC’s World Service public internet radio streams are still working. There are also unconfirmed rumours that a few members of the open source community are investigating possible workarounds to this nonsense. However I have no hard information regarding any of these or how long it will be before any, if any, become available.

There are those who suspect this fiasco is part of a longer term plan of the BBC to become a subscription service rather than a national public-service broadcaster. BBC bigwigs of course deny this – which leads me to believe that it is exactly what the BBC is planning to do. This is from way-back in 2014…

Meantime, if you have any useful info, then please contact us.

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4 thoughts on “BBC deliberately breaks its internet radio service

  1. There seem to be some current streams available here:

    They work on Volumio, but don’t as stable as the old streams.

  2. I happened to hear the “director of sounds”, Jonathan Wall, on the BBC Feedback programme on 3rd November. His complacency was breathtaking. BBC sounds is great, and improving all the time, he said. Obviously anyone who simply wants access to a radio stream, for whatever reason, is not worth considering (unless it’s to stop them).
    Where I live in Wales I used to listen to Radio 3 FM all the time using an Onkyo hifi system. A few years ago BBC decided to use the frequency for Radio Wales instead. OK I thought, at least I can use the internet radio option. Then this year those BBC streams stopped working. Rather than throw away a working system I plugged a raspberry pi into the line-in to use the new HLS streams. Inconvenient, but it works. Then just weeks later the BBC changes those streams too. Is this a deliberate cat-and-mouse game?
    I might have been tempted to buy a new hifi with internet radio, but who knows how long it would keep working?using

    • Thanks for your post Martin. Fortunately it seems the new streams should be here for a while. Moreover, thanks to services such as the excellent it should be possible to find the new streams when the BBC changes them again. Thanks to radio-info we found new streams in under 12 hours! 🙂

      Yes I think there is a game of cat and mouse. IMHO, the BBC’s ultimate objective is to move away from being a public service broadcaster to being a premium subscription content service provider. Auntie Beeb vehemently denies this of course. But then to misquote the Great Bard, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

      Meantime these new streams appear to work, and work well…

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