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Will BBC’s May radio streaming service changes affect me in France?

Technical changes are on the way that will adversely affect some listeners both in the UK and abroad

You may be hearing a message about changes to your broadcasts if you listen to the BBC on your radio Pic: panpilai paipa / Shutterstock

Reader question: Who is affected by the BBC’s imminent streaming service changes and how will I be able to continue to receive the BBC on my internet radio – as opposed to on my phone or computer - in France? 

For those who do not know, the BBC has recently announced that from May 2023, certain listeners will no longer be able to tune into broadcasts on devices that use certain streaming technologies, as part of wider cost-cutting measures at the BBC.

It affects both those inside the UK and listeners abroad whose devices use this technology when connecting to BBC Sounds (essentially, all audio, radio and podcast content from the BBC) but it does not affect the BBC World Service.

Devices affected are those that use an older streaming technology called Shoutcast that will no longer receive support, allowing the BBC to focus attention on the two most popular technologies, called HLS and Dash. 

Internet radios are primarily affected, as many brands use this technology, especially older models.

If this applies, you are liable to hear regular messages played stating that from mid-2023, the device you are listening on will no longer be supported.

If you are hearing the message as you are listening, it means your internet radio (or other device) is not compatible, and unfortunately there really is not a lot you can do to keep listening on the device that you own. 

The BBC advises you to contact the manufacturer to see if a hardware upgrade is possible, but of course there is no guarantee it will be able to offer assistance.

Alternatively, you may be able to connect the radio with a cable to a source that can access the BBC Sounds app, or if your internet radio has some form of Bluetooth or wireless connection, connect to another device through this to listen.

Both of these methods however, require the use of a phone or computer to access the content in the first place, defeating the point of accessing broadcasts solely via the internet radio.

If you do not want to use a phone or computer, the only other course of action does seem to be to buy a new radio with HLS / Dash computability. You can go to a shop and ask for help if you are unsure which internet radios use this technology.

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