The BBC World Service website, among others on the radio side of the BBC, has been mucking about with their iPlayer, and over the past weekend became completely incompatible with the Media Catcher and AV8 tools.

The iPlayer relies on Real Audio (again) and makes it extremely difficult to find a Windows Media alternative stream. The URL's for the Akamai-provisioned streaming files (either .ra or .wma) are now "cloaked" by iPlayer with a "generatecssasx.esi" statement within the URL. Presumably this is a way to internally repoint the iPlayer to the raw audio stream hosted by Akamai indirectly.

RMC and AV8 do not recognize nor begin to capture any audio. The specific audio file I am trying to grab on a daily basis is on the BBC World Service website, and is not available as a Podcast.

Steps and Additional Information

I start at

There is a link both to the current show and the listen again archives, which brings up the iPlayer, which is embedding a Real Audio player. The stream is a recording, not live audio. The direct URL for the iPlayer for Newshour is:

Interestingly, you can learn more information about the URL's for the audio files by visiting: (or modify the date). I was able to capture and save an index.htm file containing links to both the .RA and .WMA files, although they were still "cloaked":

Using Net Transfer's URL Sniffer from Xi, I was actually able to grab a URL when clicking the start button on the iPlayer:


I prefer the .WMA version, which I was able to get using the URL sniffer tool and clicking on the aforementioned .WMA link. The Sniffer caught it as:


What all of this means is that it is still possible to sniff out the URLs for the respective audio files in both formats, but it appears Applian needs to do some software work to get this information into the programs in order for them to deal with the changed URL formats.

I hope this information is useful in helping to get your applications to work properly once again with the BBC website, at least on the radio side!