Here are a few questions and answers to help you use this site. If you can’t see your question listed here, or are having problems, please visit the Contact page and drop us an email.
Q: How do I navigate round the site?
A: Use the menu above. You’ll see there are two headings (BBC and Commercial) click the BBC heading to view a list of the BBC stations we currently have audio recordings for. Use the Commercial heading to view the Independent (or Commercial) station list. Once you get to the station list, click on the station name to be taken to their page.
Q: Do I need special software to listen?
A: You shouldn’t. We’ve tested the site on various platforms using various browsers and you should be able to listen on any device that is connected to the Internet (including Smartphones). Google Chrome or Firefox is probably recommended. We advise a good pair of desktop speakers if you’re using a PC or MAC, or quality headphones if you’re using a tablet or Smartphone.
Q: Will I use a lot of bandwidth (data) to listen?
A: It depends how much you listen. The audio is encoded at 192Kbps – you would need to listen constantly for 24 hours to use about 2gb worth of data. If you’re not sure, check with your service provider about your allowance.
Q: Why isn’t the audio quality of some clips very good?
A: We try to ensure that all the audio you hear is as close to CD quality as we can, however this isn’t always possible due to the age of some of the recordings. Most of the audio you hear will either have been recorded on analogue equipment from an FM or DAB broadcast, or will originally have been mastered on analogue equipment. We try to preserve and improve the audio as much as we can, but sometimes the quality cannot be made to sound any better. It’s a bit like a photocopy of a document – if the only existing copy is one that’s been copied several times, there is nothing you can do to improve it – the same is true of sound. If the only available audio source is poor, then there’s not much we can do to make it sound better.
Q: I am able to source a better quality sound file than one I hear on this site, can I send you it?
A: YES! Please visit the Contact page to see how to get in touch with us.
Q: Why can’t I hear any audio when I click the player?
A: First of all (and an obvious answer) check you have your volume turned up, but not full. Once the audio is playing you should see the counter on the player moving. If it doesn’t move when you click on the ‘play’ button, check to make sure your internet connection is fast enough. Depending on your connection speed it may take a few seconds for playback to begin. If you still can’t hear anything and the counter isn’t moving, try using another web browser. We recommend Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Make sure you’re also using the latest versions too as outdated software might not work. You should also make sure that you’re using a supported operating system like Windows 8 or 10. (Linux and Apple O/S should also work – just make sure you have the latest updates/versions installed). (Windows 7/Vista/XP and earlier versions may not work and haven’t been tested on this site).
If you still can’t hear anything try visiting another site (eg the BBC) and see if you can listen to audio on the iPlayer. If that doesn’t work then the problem may be with your own computer/device settings. Some work places may block audio from being streamed, so check with your administrator if such a ban is in place. Try listening at home or on a different device to see if that works. If you’re still having problems, please use the Contact page to get in touch with us and give us as much info as you can so that we can help you.