Download BBC Radio Programs With Radio Downloader

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 9, 2012
Updated • Mar 9, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows software

If you cannot listen to the various BBC Radio channels directly, you may consider downloading your favorite shows to your computer to listen to them at a later time. Maybe you are on holiday and do not want to miss a show, or you are living in a country that has limited or no access to BBC Radio shows.

Radio Downloader offers a solution. The free program comes with two main features right now: It can be used to download BBC Radio shows, and it can also be used to download Podcasts. When you first start the program, you see both options displayed as icons in the program interface.

A click on BBC displays a genre, formats and A to Z listing in the interface. If you know the show's name, you may want to use the A to Z listing to find it. If you are not sure or want to explore the various options, you can either click on a genre, like drama, children's or music, or a format, like readings, reality or magazines & reviews.

A list of shows is displayed on the next page, and if you have selected a genre, sub-genres may be listed on the page as well. You can furthermore filter results at the top. This allows you to switch from the current show filter to a listing that is only highlighting shows that are available on the BBC iPlayer, or all shows.

All available shows are listed on the next page. You can now select a show and click on the download button in the toolbar to download it to your computer. Here it is also possible to subscribe to a show, which can be useful if you do not want to miss a single show.

You may want to click on Options > Provider Options > BBC Radio Provider Options first to configure the audio download rules. The program will convert AAC radio shows to mp3 by default, which you can change in the program options.

bbc radio download

The podcast download works by adding the RSS feed of the Podcast to the program. There is no directory of podcasts included in the program, which makes it less appealing.

The program itself feels a bit clunky at times, for instance when you realize that going back or forward take their time even if the page had been loaded previously.

The downloading of BBC Radio programs does not seem to work for all users. A friend of mine had no issues whatsoever using the program, while I could not download a single show to my computer. The developer states on a help page that this is usually caused by a firewall, or by the router.

Radio Developer, if it is working properly, is a useful program for users who like to download BBC Radio shows to their PCs.


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  1. Dave said on September 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I have been using this program for about a month and it seems to work:
    Nowhere near as intuitive as Radio Downloader but it does the trick. Only snag is that it downloads as a .flv file. It professes to extract the audio but the resulting bit-rate is a tad low and I can’t see a way of altering this, as it uses an add-on. I use AoA Audio Extractor Free separately (see right-hand side of page)
    set for a decent bit-rate (192 in my case) and the audio sounds as good as anything else I’ve heard. I use Audacity (again – set for 192) to edit the intro and outro blurb and applause, etc. from BBC Radio 4 Extra comedy programs and it all sounds fine.

  2. ANGRY_UK_RESIDENT said on August 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    HEADS UP!! The BBC have cut the legs off this app!
    An update removes the BBC completely after they contacted the author to demand removal – BBC you are creative stifling MORONS WHO DESERVE HATE!

  3. Wendells said on July 11, 2013 at 4:47 am

    I’ve been using Radio Downloader to access drama and comedy programmes so I could listen to them in the car or when I’m gardening. It’s led me to listen to all sorts of programmes I wouldn’t have found if only available in “real time” on the radio (like “Cabin Pressure” – who would have wanted to miss out on that?!)
    If the BBC had any sense at all they would buy some “customer goodwill” by thanking Matt Robinson for providing a service they’ve failed to provide themselves, and supporting his site for the next year or so until they are able to provide something themselves.
    Thanks for the service you’ve provided, Matt …. you’ve managed to make at least one middle aged woman very happy without bismirching your own reputation!

  4. ScoobyDoo said on July 5, 2013 at 5:57 am

    I am pretty annoyed that the BBC has forced Radio Downloader off the air especially considering the continuing scandals which it endures of it’s own making, Saville and big payoffs to ex management etc. Personally I am going to write to the BBC Trust asking for this radio downlaoding facility to be returned. It is already possible to download television programmes and watch them later at your own convenience and this is what RD offers for radio. If other users of this brilliant software will also write in there may be a chance that something will be offered sooner than 2014. I think an email to the Daily Mail may also bring some much needed publicity to the cause. I think that generaly BBC Management is a complete disgrace but that is for another rant :)

  5. fado said on July 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    There is also Internet Download Manager that allows to download programmes in .wma format and not in real time. Unfortunately, this software is not for free, it just gives 30 days free trial :( I used the free trial period to manualy download BBC programmes and I converted it to mp3 with Jodix Free WMA to MP3 Converter. Later, I discovered Radio Downloader. What a great freeware! It is really shame that the author had to delete the program. Anyway, many thanks to him…

  6. Dave said on July 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    The Beeb’s “download” scheme is not all that it appears to be:

    “Listeners will be able to download radio shows for up to seven days after the broadcast and have a 30-day window to open it. Once they’ve ‘opened’ it, they will then have a further seven days to listen to it. So this essentially extends the listening window from one week to six weeks.”

    Big deal. It looks like programmes can’t be archived by downloading. DRM rears its ugly head again. Presumably programs can be recorded in real time but that’s laborious and the quality never seems to be up to par.

  7. Gene Poon said on July 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Sadly, RadioDownloader no longer works. BBC has apparently made some changes so that the indexing system by which RadioDownloader finds the BBC programmes does not function any more. Updating to the latest version of RadioDownloader is no longer possible because the program and installers have been deleted by its author. When RadioDownloader returns, it will be without the ability to download BBC radio programs:

    “Radio Downloader and BBC Radio

    “Following a request from the BBC, I have removed the Radio Downloader source and installers. They will return shortly minus the BBC Radio Provider plugin (e.g. the ability to download BBC Radio programmes).

    “My apologies for the disappointment that this will cause but I hope that you will understand. I believe that the BBC is planning to offer downloads of radio programmes from 2014.

    “On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for their words of encouragement and support over the years and for putting up with my sporadic updates. I had hoped to do more to Radio Downloader over the last six months but unfortunately I have not been well and life seems to have been rather hectic…”

    The program files and installers were taken down on June 26, 2013. I do not know whether that version was capable of functioning with the current BBC Radio programming, anyway.

    So much for that…unfortunately. RadioDownloader was great while it lasted. I’ve used it for about two years with nary a glitch.

  8. Dave said on July 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    TL forestalled me. It used to work a treat and I was using it for recording vintage comedy programs from Radio 4 Extra, saving with a decent bit-rate and the audio quality was great! Just got an error trying to use it and my browser popped up:
    This is a great shame. I notice the Beeb has “asked” him to remove the download facility. Presumably if he didn’t, legal action might follow? This is assuming the author is in the UK. If not, why was this action taken? Any alternatives, apart from recording the stuff in real time, which is really laborious?

  9. TL said on June 29, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Radio Downloader is no more! BBC has asked him to remove the downloading feature, installers and source are offline until modified versions are soon uploaded. BBC claims it will offer downloads in 2014. Sniff!

  10. Tom S said on April 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I have been using the Radio Downloader for a month or so, and find it very convenient indeed. Thank you for the recommendation.

    I have a Pure Evoke 3 DAB radio which I used regularly to record BBC radio programmes, particularly of classical music from Radio 3, which is broadcast on DAB at 192 kbps and recorded as an mp2 file. I play the downloads and recordings through my hifi, using the usb input of my cd player, The BBC Proms concerts are coming up, and they will be broadcast streamed live on the internet at 320 kbps. I would welcome advice on the method of recording/downloading concerts at the highest sound quality.

    It appears that several options are available to me:
    1. Download from iPlayer using Radio Downloader, at up to 320 kbps as aac or mp3 files;
    2. Use Evoke 3 radio to record DAB broadcast at 192 kbps as mp2 file;
    3. Record live internet stream at 320kbps using SoundTap or Audacity to make uncompressed WAV file at 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz;
    4. Record live FM radio broadcast using line-out on radio into computer soundcard to make WAV file, as in 3 above.
    5. Compress WAV files made in 3 or 4 above as aac or mp3 at 320kbps.

    I would welcome your comments on the sound quality which might be achieved using these methods, or any other method that I have not thought about. 1 and 2 are very convenient, but special concerts may be worth the additional effort required by the other methods.


  11. jim zealand said on September 15, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Goof article, thanks.
    I have also been using a veteran stream downloader(HiDownload) to download bbc radio.

  12. John said on March 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Many thanks for alerting me to this program, I’ve been recording BBC radio programmes for years off the internet ( and before that on good old cassettes ! ) either live or using the iPlayer. Apart from obviating the need for streaming audio, and any inherent interruptions which stop the recording, this program takes less then 10% of the length of the show to download. No problems encountered at all, I shall definitely be using it from now on.

  13. Khai said on March 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    “A friend of mine had no issues whatsoever using the program, while I could not download a single show to my computer. The developer states on a help page that this is usually caused by a firewall, or by the router.”

    check that port 1395 is open. if you do you block 1935 and then you can’t download with this..

    I know cos I had this situation last week… soon as I removed the MMC block, (which no longer works with Hulu btw), Radio Downloader worked fine.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks I give it a try.

  14. Mike said on March 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Error first time I tried a download but working nicely after that. Useful tool for me, thank you :)

  15. Crodol said on March 9, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I will try both… Radio Downloader but also uniextract
    that Rick mentioned seems interesting.

  16. Rick said on March 9, 2012 at 3:46 am

    I just ran the program in “portable mode” (ie used uniextract and ran the app without installation) and it downloaded my first test without issue.

    Win 7 Ult / x64

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