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In-car Updates From Radioplayer, BBC Sounds

Platforms offer new features for vehicle manufacturers and drivers

LONDONRadioplayer is launching a new way for car companies to access official metadata about radio stations. The new RadioDNS “ClientID” standard allows vehicle manufacturers to add rich metadata such as streams, logos, now-playing information, and podcasts via a feed using Radioplayer.

BBC Sounds music mixes displayed via Android Auto.

The non-profit radio platform, which is backed by international broadcasters, already offers basic metadata such as logos and station descriptions on behalf of partner stations in the open RadioDNS format.


The new “ClientID” functionality will rollout in addition to the original open feed, enabling Radioplayer to offer more enhanced and valuable metadata to trusted partners by issuing them with unique “Client Identifiers.” This ensures that official metadata from broadcasters is only used by licensed partners.

The road-test rig for the Radioplayer reference radio.

“Radioplayer’s top priority is to help car companies build better radios,” says Michael Hill, managing director of Radioplayer. “We welcome any technology solution which helps us achieve that, particularly if it’s underpinned by open standards like DAB and RadioDNS. This new feed will help manufacturers build fantastic new ‘hybrid’ radio interfaces, keeping radio strong in the connected cars of the future.”


Countries that have rolled out the Radioplayer model include Germany, Ireland, Austria, Norway, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Peru and Denmark.

Michael Hill is managing director of Radioplayer.

Meanwhile, BBC Sounds, which launched last year to bring together the United Kingdom broadcaster’s live and on-demand radio, music and podcasts into a single personalized app, has introduced support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This expands what was previously available in the BBC’s iPlayer Radio app, offering drivers a larger choice of content from the dashboard.

Listeners now have four main sections to explore: “My Sounds,” which brings the user’s Bookmarks, Subscriptions and Latest list into one place, as on the mobile app; “Browse,” which provides a route to explore music mixes and recommendations; “Stations” for listening to live radio; and “Downloads,” for everything downloaded on the app.

New functionality has also been added to the BBC’s Alexa skill for smart speakers. Listeners are now able to pause and resume podcasts and on-demand programs seamlessly between the BBC skill and the BBC Sounds app and website.

This now means, for example, that if a user is halfway through listening to a podcast on a mobile phone using the BBC Sounds app during their commute home, they can then resume it once in the house using Alexa on a smart speaker. This feature is available when linking a BBC account to an Alexa account.

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In-vehicle listening remains vital for broadcasters, with the latest U.K. RAJAR Midas Spring 2019 research showing that 22% of live radio, and 14% of podcast listening, takes place in either a car, van or lorry.

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