Saturday 13 January 2024

KitchenPi: goodbye BBC Radio 4

Things are changing at the BBC


...but not necessarily for the better.


We've used our kitchenPi internet radio almost every day since it was first built & installed almost 8 years ago: first KitchenPi post

In that time the software has been modified & hopefully 'hardened', and the original blue box has been replaced by a red one, to suit the redecoration of our kitchen.

Program selection is mostly made by pressing a single push-button, although I can access a wider range of stations (including Caroline North) via a simple web page.

To limit the number of button pushes required, the usual (button push) selection is limited to 5 options, which up until this week were:-

  • Radio Caroline
  • Smooth Radio
  • BBC Radio 4
  • BBC World service
  • Jukebox (random play our music collection)

the problem

However, a couple of months ago Radio 4 stopped working!

What with other projects & Christmas, I didn't get around to investigating this problem until this week. I thought it would just be a case of finding a new stream url. But no, something more serious has happened.

This BBC post explains their reason for the loss:

Basically they no longer support the SHOUTcast MP3 stream. They imply that if your internet radio no longer works (and the manufacturer cannot update it) maybe you should throw it in the bin and use their service some other way!

Garfnet did a brilliant post explaining the situation and what they believe are the reasons behind it:

It starts with;

Seems the BBC has decided to make all its AAC HLS streams only available to wealthy people who have Apple or similar devices. And the good old-fashioned “shoutcast” MP3 streams have gone altogether. Seems that if you can afford expensive American-logoed Chinese-made kit then you can listen to the BBC. If you register with the BBC’s awful website you can listen from there. However, if you use free open source software, then you cannot.

...and just gets better!

The garfnet website also gives a stream url that many find helpful. However, it doesn't work on my KitichenPi.

My system uses mPlayer, which admittedly has not been updated for about 2 years!

My problem with the new recommended link is that Radio 4 now plays in 'chunks' on mplayer with short breaks between each chunk. Then after 5 chunks it stops altogether.

Why not switch to another player? The good thing about mplayer is that, if ever the stream is lost, the mplayer process stops. So its proved to be really easy to keep the radio operational by monitoring the mplayer process.

What have you tried to fix it? Not much. I fiddled around with the cache setting, but drew a blank.


I can't be arsed with this. It looks like the BBC now want to track & control its users, with maybe a plan to move to a subscription service at some time in the future.

So I have simply removed Radio 4 from the program options.

To be honest, KitchenPi spends 95% of its running time on Radio Caroline anyway.

So its "So long Radio 4, its been good to know you!"

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