BBC iPlayer site-specific browser

As I’ve mentioned at great length in earlier posts, I use Audio Hijack Pro to record BBC Radio shows that are streamed over the internet but don’t come in podcast form. Until recently, I’d been using Safari to open the stream URL. Generally, this worked out fine, but if I wanted to browse while recording something in the background, I had to follow two rules

  1. Don’t open any sites that play sounds, as these will be recorded on top of the show.
  2. Don’t quit Safari when I was done browsing, as that will kill the recording.

Sometimes I’d forget to follow these rules and ruin a hour or more of recording. Whenever this happened, I’d try to fix the problem by swearing at myself, but that never seemed to work.

What has worked is creating a site-specific browser (SSB) for recording. I used Fluid1 to create an SSB, called BBC iPlayer, that opens a generic BBC page.

BBC iPlayer, then, is the application whose sound output gets hijacked by AHP.

AHP tells BBC iPlayer to navigate away from the generic page to the URL for the stream. Now I can browse in Safari without worrying that something I do will screw up the recording.

Luckily, the various scripts I wrote for getting the streaming URL from the BBC—all collected in this GitHub repository—are browser-agnostic, so they didn’t have to be edited at all. Only the settings in AHP itself needed updating.

I was going to use the current BBC logo as the icon for the BBC iPlayer SSB, but its horizontal layout doesn’t work well as an icon. So I found a screenshot of the old spinning blue globe logo (the one you’d always see during Monty Python’s Flying Circus) on this BBC logo history page and did a bit of editing.

It doesn’t look great at a small size, but it’s instantly recognizable to me.

One more thing: As you can see in the AHP screenshot, one of my upcoming recordings is of an episode of Radio 2’s semi-regular show, The Record Producers. The subject of this Saturday’s show will be Todd Rundgren. Obviously, I have no idea if the show will be any good (personally, I’m hoping they don’t spend too much time on Bat Out of Hell), but Todd fans will probably want to listen regardless.

  1. Fluid is what I used to create my Twitter client, Dr. Twoot