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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
BBC to offer 'personalised' radio
BBC Director General Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson says radio faces a number of challenges in the future
The BBC wants to allow audiences to create personal radio stations from its content, its director general has said.

The planned service, provisionally called MyBBCRadio, was revealed by Mark Thompson at the Radio Festival in Cambridge.

It aims to give audiences more control by combining existing services such as podcasts and the BBC Radio Player.

It will be part of the BBC's iPlayer, a free service which will also offer seven days of BBC TV on demand.

Thompson said MyBBCRadio would use peer-to-peer technology to provide "thousands, ultimately millions, of individual radio services created by audiences themselves".

The BBC hoped to share these ideas with the commercial sector, he added.

Online success

The personalised radio scheme is expected to build on the success of the BBC's online radio services.

In March, the corporation said people had listened to 20 million hours of BBC content online, using everything from live streams to downloaded programmes.

Chris Moyles in BBC Radio 1 studio
Highlights of Chris Moyles' daily shows are podcast each week
The most requested shows include BBC Radio 4's long-running soap opera The Archers, and Chris Moyles' BBC Radio 1 breakfast show.

In May, audiences downloaded 4.5 million BBC podcasts.

In his speech, Mr Thompson said the corporations' governors would decide on whether podcasting would become a permanent service later this year.

The decision will be based, in part, on a study of how the BBC's podcasts affect the commercial sector.

The governors will also look into the market impact of Radios 1 and 2 following criticism from commercial competitors, said Thompson.

However, he defended the stations, saying they had been successful "not because they've become more like their competitors but because they've become less like them".

"If you've got a problem with a popular BBC, the people you're picking a fight with are the British public," he added.

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