A couple of weeks ago there was a power cut at Walmsley Mansions during the middle of the night. I woke up at around 3am with the sound of various house alarms in the area all going off. Now I usually sleep with the radio on to give me a little background noise, it is a mains operated radio and so it was not working when I was woken up by the alarms that the power cut had triggered. While this is not a common event it probably does happen three or four times a year and each time it does I stumble out of bed and turn the radio back on at around about the same time that my, no doubt equally bleary eyed, neighbours are switching off their alarms. I pressed the power switch on the radio but still nothing, so I pressed it again with the same result. I started to rack my brain in my slightly soporific state and opted for the best advice of help desks around the world, I unplugged it from the socket, waited ten seconds and then plugged it back in. I pressed the power button but instead of the radio bursting into life and the dulcet tones of Rhod Sharp on Radio 5’s “Up All Night” emerging from the radio all that happened was the display began to flash on and off, something it had never done before. Further when I tried to turn it off by again pressing the power button the radio ignored the request and the display continued flashing. I gave up and pulled the plug out and fell back into bed feeling slightly grumpy.
The following day I tried my little radio again but with the same results. It would not tune in, there was no sound emanating from its solitary speaker and the display just flashed on and off continually. I suspect that there had been a power surge and that it had completely fried the circuitry of my beloved digital radio. Somebody once said that “The pictures are better on the radio” and I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I also find that I can multi task more when I am listening to the radio rather than when there is a TV on in the same room. So I now had a dilemma, I like to listen to the radio overnight as I find it relaxing but I had a mountain of work to get finished that day and I didn’t really have the time to go out and buy a new radio. If I ordered it online then it would not be here on the same day and so I needed to find another solution.
I knew the BBC had recently released the BBC iPlayer Radio app and that I had already downloaded it so I decided that rather than digging out an old FM radio I would try the new app as some of the stations that I listen to, such as Radio 4 Xtra, are not on FM. I figured it would make do until I had a little more time to go and purchase a new digital radio.
Now this all occurred a couple of weeks back and I still have not ordered a new radio. Not because I have not had the time but because I have found that I love the BBC iPlayer Radio app so much that I do not see why I should buy a new digital radio. Not only can I listen to any of the BBC radio stations live but it also gives you the option to play previous programs from the last seven days and to search for programs that you might have missed. The navigation is clear, easy to use and you can even set an alarm using the app so that you can wake up to your favourite BBC radio station. The only downside that I have so far found is that due to the extremely slow internet speeds in my area (around 2-3 Mbps) then there is the odd delay as the stream is buffered, but that is not the fault of the app.
I often marvel at the way the mobile phone is creeping insidiously into our lives replacing more and more functionality that was previously carried out by other devices. With the BBC iPlayer Radio app I no longer need a bedside clock or radio.