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Radio accessibility

If you're an ardent listener of radio shows, you may want to learn more about the options in the market right now.

A woman wearing headphones, lounging on a sofa, listening to the radio.

Digital radio (DAB)

Digital radio (DAB) offers a wider choice of programming with more radio stations: national, local and regional catering for all kinds of interests and groups of people. It also gives hiss-free sound and many DAB radios also have features including information about the channel or the ability to pause and rewind live radio. Digital radios often rely on visual displays, so it's important to find one that suits your needs with high contrast, station preset buttons or speech.

To check that you can receive DAB stations, visit the BBC check transmitter page.

Download our checklist of what features to look for when purchasing a digital radio:

DAB checklist and priorities (Word)

DAB checklist and priorities (PDF)

Ricability tested 15 DAB radios available on the high street, to find accessible radios for blind and partially sighted people and people with limited dexterity.

Full results are available from Ricability: DAB Radios or call 020 7427 2460 for a copy of the ‘Choosing a DAB radio’ consumer report.

For further information on DAB radio or the research project, email [email protected] or contact 0303 123 9999.

Watch our video on digital radio

Watch our video about how digital radios can be made more usable for people with sight loss.

Internet radio

Internet radio (also known as web radio) is a radio service transmitted over the Internet. Internet radio can be enjoyed on dedicated internet radios, via apps or on your computer.

The advantages of internet radio are that you can listen to radio stations from countries all over the world and there are often radio stations that cater for specific genres of programming such as Bollywood music or New Orleans Jazz.

The majority of UK radio stations that are available via internet radio can be accessed through the Radioplayer service. Radioplayer has been developed in partnership between the BBC and UK Commercial Radio and is available as a website or as an app on all major smartphone platforms.

Catch-up radio

Similar to catch-up television services such as BBC iPlayer, and All 4, catch-up radio services can be used to listen to radio shows online for a fixed period after the original broadcast. Most UK radio broadcasters that have a catch-up feature are listed on Radioplayer and can also be accessed via this service.

So if you miss your favourite show you may be able to catch it there.

RNIB Connect Radio

RNIB Connect Radio is RNIB's radio station. Broadcasting 24 hours a day, the Sony Award winning station communicates the needs, interests and aspirations of blind and partially sighted people throughout the UK and is the nation's only radio station specifically for blind and partially sighted people.

You can listen to RNIB Connect Radio:

  • online
  • in Glasgow on 101FM
  • on Freeview channel 730