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Last Updated: Friday, 15 April 2005, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
BBC Radio podcasts 20 more shows
Men listening to digital music players
Millions of people now own portable digital music players
The BBC is making 20 more radio shows available for listeners to download onto their digital music players.

People will be able to download shows, such as technology programme Go Digital and some Radio 1 audio, in a trial.

The move extends the BBC's successful trial of the Radio Five Fighting Talk and Radio 4 In Our Time podcasts.

Podcasts are essentially radio shows on demand. Listeners subscribe for free to a show, the latest of which is then sent automatically to music players.

"These technologies can transform the value we deliver to audiences and make our programmes more accessible for both new and existing audiences," said Simon Nelson, controller of BBC Radio and Music Interactive.

"The BBC was the first British broadcaster to podcast when we made In Our Time available last year and this trial will enable us to further explore the editorial, technical and distribution issues involved."

The previous podcasting trials, which also included digital radio station 1Xtra's TX Unlimited show, were highly successful.

The three podcasts were downloaded as MP3 files a total of 270,000 times in the first four months of the trial.

Thousands online

The programmes which will be made available as podcasts are mainly talk-based to avoid problems over music rights issues.

Today (Radio 4, daily) - 8.10am interview
In Business (Radio 4, weekly)
From Our Own Correspondent (Radio 4, weekly/twice weekly)
In Our Time (Radio 4, weekly)
Reith Lectures (Radio 4, run of six)
Sportsweek (Radio Five Live, weekly)
Rumour Mill - (Radio Five Live, weekly)
Mark Kermode film review slot (Radio Five Live, weekly)
Radio 1 speech highlights - to be confirmed
Go Digital (World Service, weekly)
Documentary archive (World Service, twice weekly)
TX documentaries (1Xtra, weekly) - various subjects
Gaelic Letter (BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal, weekly)
The 8.10am interview from Radio 4's Today programme will be the first daily podcast.

Radio 1's podcasts will take the form of highlights from interviews or other speech-based shows, not music.

The new podcasts will begin in May.

There are now thousands of podcasts available on the net, ranging from fishing tackle talk shows, to gadget talk, exercise workouts, political chat, and film reviews.

US politicians are also experimenting with podcasting after finding success with blogs during the presidential elections last year.

Virgin Radio has also started to make talk-based highlights of its breakfast show available as podcasts.

Easy to do

Podcasts have become popular partly because millions of people own digital music players and want content to listen to.

They are also easy to make if people have the right equipment and a net connection.

But they have also caught people's attention because of programs people have developed, such as iPodder.

Listeners can tell the program details of the shows they want to listen to.

The iPodder, or similar application, will then collect the shows and automatically send the most recent one to music players when they are connected to a computer.

In a different trial, the BBC is also to make certain radio shows available to download through its Interactive Media Player (iMP).

Based on peer-to-peer technology, iMP lets people download TV and radio programmes which the BBC owns the rights to, within seven days of first being broadcast.

The trial is intended to give people the chance to watch or listen to programmes they might have missed, when they want to. It is part of the BBC's drive to use new technology to give licence fee payers more value for money.

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