BBC radio streams in MP3, AAC instead of Windows .asx

For many a year, I’ve been frustrated by the fact that BBC radio first off streamed only in RealPlayer format, and then replaced that with Windows Media Player formats.

By not offering a format that Apple’s iTunes was happy with, I couldn’t listen to radio streams via my nice stereo setup using my Airport Express and AirTunes. I could pay for Airfoil and play it using Real, but that was clunky and I just wanted the BBC to use a more friendly format.

In parallel, I’ve been using the excellent Fstream on my iPhones to listen to BBC radio on the go – in the UK and abroad. Its worked most excellently and is a nice bit of free software. Up until today, I’ve been using the list of .asx streams published at, but today, they were no longer working.

BBC radio streaming in AAC through iTunes

BBC radio streaming in AAC through iTunes

Luckily, I tried calling up the live stream of Radio 4 on my iPhone via Safari. Doing that exposed a new playlist file that points to a AAC stream. The .pls works in not only Fstream, but also natively in iTunes and Airplay.

Changing the URL slightly also gives:

I hope that the BBC don’t find some way to block people from using these streams on platforms other than Mobile Safari.



About Graham

Forty-something gay geek living in Kings Cross with my collection of shiny computers and my fish.
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