The publicly-funded BBC and the U.K. commercial radio sector have collaborated on a new online radio player.

The U.K. Radioplayer, due for launch early next year, is intended to offer the output of every licensed U.K. radio station and to enable users search this content by subject, musical style and song title by employing a new search engine specifically designed for radio.

It will be pop-up console which will be able stream more than 400 licensed national, local, community and student radio stations, offering live and on-demand audio services. Users will be able store their favourite stations on pre-set buttons.

Partners in the project include the BBC, commercial radio trade body RadioCentre, Global Radio and Guardian Media Group.

It will initially be available through desktop computers, with later versions intended for smartphones and other internet-connected devices.

"The Radioplayer brings together all of the UK's radio output in one online console," said Andrew Harrison, RadioCentre chief executive, in a statement. "This is a breakthrough for listeners and an attractive new proposition for advertisers."