The BBC has released a free iPlayer Radio app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad that makes radio programmes available separately from its existing iPlayer app.

iPlayer Radio makes programmes from all of the BBC’s national and local radio stations available, both as live internet streams and as catch-up programmes from the last seven days.

Unfortunately, there’s no option to download catch-up programmes for listening without an internet connection and while music-free podcasts are also available from the app, again, these are streaming-only. These features are reportedly in the pipeline, however.

Even so, there are some neat features in iPlayer Radio. Local radio stations can be found using GPS, which can be handy for traffic reports when you have no idea where you are.

Individual music tracks can be marked as ‘favourites’ for later reference and full track-listings for programmes can be found once a programme has been broadcast, putting an end to the problem of liking a song that’s playing but having no idea who it’s by.

The app also includes an alarm function so you can wake up by listening live to your favourite radio station, assuming there’s an internet connection.

This feature only works when the iPhone is switched on and the app is running though, so it’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Radio programmes are still available in the main iPlayer app, but the BBC plans to remove this function and maintain separate apps for TV and radio in future. An Android version of the app is also being worked on and should be released soon.