The Wireless

What is this?

The Wireless is a new way to discover BBC podcasts. It's not finished, and so contains several bugs and glitches.

How does it work?

Discover new podcasts! Use the left & right cursor keys to jump between snippets of podcasts, until you find one you like the sound of. Press the spacebar to listen in full.

What's the idea behind it?

We've been thinking about the difference in experience between analogue radio and online audio.

With a radio, you can flick through the dial at high speed, only hearing very quick snatches of programmes. We wanted to replicate that sensation online, allowing you to discover programmes that you otherwise wouldn't necessarily try, and then instantly evaluate whether you'd like to continue listening.

What's the current state of the demo?

Things to spot:

The podcasts all start from random points. Never at the beginning (unless they are really short announcement messages). This is to make it easier to "jump right in" to the content, without listening to health warning, copyright messages, etc.

When you switch from one podcast to another, then back again, the previous podcast continues from where you left off! Magic!

Each podcast snippet lasts for about 40 seconds. After that (eventually) we want it to seamlessly hand over to the full podcast, with the option to play from the beginning if you prefer.

The height of the bars indicated the length of the podcast, and the colour indicates the genre.

Shortcut Keys

We wanted the demo to be usable with your eyes closed- you could lie down on the sofa, and allow unusual audio to come to you, without having to browse for it.

So, the demo uses these shortcut keys:

  • Left & Right cursor keys - switch between podcasts.
  • Spacebar - plays the full podcast.

What browser can I view the demo in?

The demo works in Firefox 3.5+ and Webkit browsers - Google Chrome and Safari 4. Other browsers may do unpredictable things.

Who made it?

It was built by David Vella, Matt Isherwood, Tom Leitch, Henrik Pettersson and Tom Hannen. We would love to hear from you, so if you want to get in contact please send an email to ws.developers<at>


Give it a go