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Radio Times

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radiotimes.com

Have you ever tried to Google air times for your favorite shows? If you have, then you know that it is not quite as simple as it seems like it should be. For the most part, Google comes through very conveniently. If you want to find a recipe, simply type it in and there will be hundreds of options for you to choose from. Looking for the closest restaurant to you and find one in a matter of seconds. But for whatever reason, googling when a show or movie airs on TV or on the radio and you will not have such an easy time.

There are a few sites out there, though, that you should know about to make your life a little simpler, sites that are dedicated to providing all of this information when you need it. Additionally, many of these sites also offer up entertainment news and think pieces related the everything that is happening in the world of film, TV, radio, and music. Gone are the days of finding your Radio Times weekly magazine and thumbing through to find out when your favorite shows will air. Nowadays, all it takes is a few quick clicks for a full list of air times, as well as some fascinating commentary and news on the subject.

If you live in the UK, there’s a good chance that you are already well aware of Radio Times. Maybe you even grew up seeing these weekly publications strewn around the house. This publication, though, has done an excellent job of adapting with the times. Although you can still choose to subscribe to the hard copy of Radio Times (if you are a little more old-school by nature), anyone can access Radio Times’ content for free on the internet. But it is so much more than just a weekly schedule of what’s on the television.

If you haven’t already, it may be high time to delve in and take a look at what the new and improved radiotimes.com has to offer. I think that you may be pleasantly surprised

History

Radio Times was the world’s first broadcast listings magazine, founded in 1923 by John Reith (then manager of the BBC). The magazine was published in-house by BBC Magazines from 1937 until 2011 – which is when BBC Magazines was folded into Immediate Media Company. And in 2017 it was purchased by the German company, Hubert Burda.

Radio Times was first published on September 28th, 1923. It cost only 2d, and it offered up details on all BBC Wireless programs, as well as an iconic weekly “message to listeners” which was written by the BBC’s chairman at the time, Lord Pease.

The initial vision for Radio Times was to be a joint venture between the BBC and famous publisher George Newnes. However, by the time 1937 rolled around, the BBC had seized the entirety of the publication process. It quickly gained a reputation for featuring top writers and illustrators. Many of the covers from the classic editions of the magazine are now available as collectible items, revered for their timeless design.

Radio Times continued to grow and flourish over the years. Even though WWII and its national paper rations. Although it has expanded to include Irish broadcasts, Radio Times has opted to remain primarily a British listing magazine. They have shown no interest in expanding their listings to include American shows, nor have they branched out to other countries in Europe at all. Radio Times is a quintessentially English endeavor and always has been.

Design

Although Radio Times’ online presence does not at all resemble the classic 20th-century design of the publication, it still has retained a sense of understated elegance. They have opted for a very minimalist approach to their web design. It is informative and easy to use, but not flashy or overly interactive by any means. It says, ‘here is our content; here are the simple ways in which you can access it.” Nothing more, nothing less.

I rather like the Radio Times’ web design. It is mostly a black and white theme, with splashes of color here and there provided by images or the odd highlighted article, drawing the eye where the designers wish it to be led. The site menu bar, too, makes for easy user experience. Simply browse the site by any of the following headers: TV Guide, News, TV, On Demand, Film, Sport, Radio, or My Radio Times.

Radio Times offers a great blend of informational and thought-provoking content. They blend breaking entertainment news with informative broadcast information, as well as tons of insider info on upcoming shows and movies. And the site looks great containing all of this.

Content

Well, I have already touched upon what Radio Times offers a little bit in discussing the site design, but let’s break it down even further. So, yes, there is the famed TV Guide which, upon clicking on it, appears as a classic TV guide chart appears. Hovering your cursor over a specific program, too, offers additional information to pop up: a synopsis, casting info, etc. This is a nice touch if you ask me. I like how interactive they have made the guide.

The entertainment news section of the site is broken up by genre. Choose from soaps, comedy, sci-fi fantasy, on-demand (news on content from streaming platforms), movies, or drama. I love this site’s sense of organization.

You can also come to Radio Times for the latest in sports news, or, of course, radio (as the title suggests). The “radio” section of the site is set up just like the TV guide but for radio programming. Radio Times really offers everything you could ever need to know regarding British broadcasting.

Desktop and Mobile Experience

As I mentioned before, I rather like the way that the desktop version of this site has been executed. It is easy to use, stripped-down, spartan, but still looks good. The app, too, it turns out is equally good (and a little more reminiscent of the paper magazine). The way it is set up reads like the weekly publication might, although you can click into articles instead of having to flip around and find them.

For a legendary publication, I love the way that the app works. I love it how it mirrors the traditional experience of reading Radio Times. I think that is a very nice touch. And people tend to agree. The Radio Times app has received a 5-star rating on the Apple App Store. And it looks like the experience is only continuing to be improved upon, as a personalized version of the site and app is currently in Beta mode, My Radio Times. So, be on the lookout for that!

Pricing and Plans

Radio Lab is 100% free to use to your heart’s content. There are no pesky paywalls or subscription fees to pay. Of course, if you wish to subscribe to the weekly paper publication of Radio Times, you will still have to pay. But get ready to enjoy everything that radiotimes.com has to offer with no price tags. Well, except for the fact that there are ads. But, hey, every site has ads, right? It’s a small price to pay, I think, for the amount of great content that this site has to offer.

Suggestions that I have for Radio Times

I think that the only suggestion that I would have for Radio Times is already being addressed in their My Radio Times app and membership. I was going to say that it would be nice if the Radio Times experience could be a little more personalized, but it looks like they have already anticipated and are addressing that criticism. Other than that, I have no complaints. For what it is, a well of information regarding British TV and radio, it is almost perfect.

Conclusion

There are very few publications that are able to survive the entirety of the 20th century and then also flourish in the digital age. In fact, the list is probably small enough to name right now: Rolling Stone magazine, Playboy, Time, People, and Radio Time. However, none of the aforementioned publications have been around for nearly as long as Radio Time. So, it is truly an impressive feat to see them have such a successful website. For nearly 200 years, Radio Times has been the authority on British media, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Likes & Hates:
Tons of TV and radio news and info
Up-to-date TV and radio broadcast schedules
Great site design
My RadioTimes personalized experience on the way
Nothing really!