Bauer’s Local Radio Players

The easiest things to do on blogs are moan. I genuinely try to concentrate on good stuff to talk about here because relentless negativity doesn’t really help anyone. However, occasionally I come across something that I feel if I don’t talk about, I would be underserving you, the dear reader.

So, Radio Today caught up with Iain Clasper who runs Bauer’s local websites to ask him why they were in Radioplayer but weren’t popping the Radioplayer from their websites, instead sticking to their existing player.

I think it’s disappointing that they’re not doing Radioplayer ‘properly’. It’s basically saying “we want all the benefits but don’t want to give anything”. Or as I mentioned in a tweet, they’ve got in bed but they’re not willing to fu…

Anyway. At the end of the day it’s their decision and the thing they have to concentrate on is looking after their listeners and their customers and if that’s not doing it through Radioplayer, then so be it.

The interview did prompt me to have a look at some of their players to see what they were keen to protect. Especially as in the Radio Today interview Iain says: “Ours is a lot bigger, more dynamic and has more rich content – so we didn’t want to lose that functionality.”

Here’s Hallam FM‘s

Here’s my thoughts:

  1. It’s certainly bigger – it opens in the whole page
  2. The station logo (top left) is tiny
  3. Though the clickable area for the logo (to Hallam’s homepage)  stretches from the beginning of the logo to above the K in Yorkshire (and over part of the commercial message)
  4. The commercial takeover background isn’t clickable at all
  5. There’s a remnant banner ad for Ebay on the page (odd for a takeover)
  6. There is an MPU for the takeover, though it opens in the same page as the player, thus interrupting your listening of the station
  7. You have to click to start it streaming
  8. There’s no information about who’s on-air
  9. When you click to play it goes to run a pre-roll, but there isn’t one, so there’s a 10 second delay in starting the stream.
  10. When the stream starts there’s a nice large picture of the song playing – which is nice. Though when there isn’t (during links, ads or mis-matched tunes) it’s a big grey CD symbol.
  11. When there is one, there’s the option to rate, share or buy the music. This is good.
  12. There is however a massive whitespace above it. And when there’s the grey CD symbol, the whole thing is a massive white space.
  13. This does mean that when you click ‘Recent’ a nice slider appears with recent songs, fitting snugly in the white space. That is unless you use Chrome, in which case it covers the MPU.
  14. Whilst the slider does look good – it also shows up the song ratings – which means that if you’re listeners don’t like a song, it basically shows that you play unpopular music.
  15. The page has vertical scrollbars, which scroll down to empty space.

Bigger definitely isn’t better. A skinned version of their Radioplayer could deliver a lovely experience for their takeover partner and be accessible to more listeners. At the moment, there’s two experiences delivering two lots of content (and different commercial messages).

This post isn’t about shilling for Radioplayer. What we do have to do as industry is to improve all of our digital experiences and make it even better for our listeners and customers. Bauer have already started this process with an excellent refreshed local radio station design. It’s a shame that they’re not there with their players and that they haven’t grasped the opportunity that the majority of other stations have seen with their streaming product.


4 thoughts on “Bauer’s Local Radio Players”

  1. I think an issue here will be from a sales standpoint, if you go to the Hallam FM radioplayer page there’s no advert for the travel company. Presumably they’re paying so their advert is viewed by all online listeners, yet anyone coming via the radioplayer simply won’t see this advert.

    On the whole their Big City player is awful (Kiss Kube is nice though) and some stations like TFM don’t even have any advertising other than the standard ads, something which is exactly the same as radioplayer offers. I see no reason for them not to get on board.

    And that CD image is awful, most songs don’t have artwork, meaning your just starting at a grey square most of the time. Finally, the rate feature is nice but as you say it makes it look like they play unpopular music, particularly when it appears to default to 1 star when thy don’t have enough votes.

    While radioplayer has its faults, there’s enough chance for each radio group to adapt it to suit their needs.

  2. No reason why South Yorkshire Travel couldn’t be ‘taking over’ the RadioPlayer, in my eyes. Of course it would need to be different copy.

    And yes, the 468×60 won’t fit on the RadioPlayer – it’s too narrow for that. I’m amazed that Bauer are even selling those still – they’re not on very many websites these days.

  3. Wow. Truly awful. Key 103 et al want people to actually use these? I’ll stick with Spotify thanks – the user experience is amazing and I love using it.

  4. There’s an easy answer to this.

    The player they currently use is a recent upgrade to the Bauer network. Something like six months or so. Looking at how long they had the old web streamer, something tells me they’ll want to get as much out of this obviously expensive player as tyey did that one.

    I’m pretty sure at the time of this being rolled out there was little update on when the Radioplayer was coming out. Bad timing, I suppose.

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