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How to play radio stations and podcasts with Alexa on Amazon Echo

You can now play live stations and podcasts on Amazon Echo devices. Here’s a guide to get you started. Please note that other Alexa enabled devices are not yet officially supported. See Known Issues below for more information. 

How to get started

To enable the BBC Alexa skill, follow the steps below:

  • Ask Alexa to enable the skill by saying “Alexa, enable the BBC skill” 
  • Alternatively, open the Alexa app, go to the menu, and select Skills. Or, go to the Alexa Skills store on the Amazon website: https://amazon.co.uk/skills. Then, browse for skills by category or use Search for “BBC” to find the BBC Alexa skill. Once you find the BBC Skill, select it to open the skill detail page and then press the “Enable” button to start using it through your Amazon Alexa device.

 

How to use it to play Radio

Example phrases

To play a radio station (when the skill is not already open) 

  • Alexa, ask the BBC to play Radio One
  • Alexa, ask the BBC to play BBC Radio One
  • Alexa, open the BBC and play Six Music
  • Alexa, open the BBC and start playing Radio Two
  • Alexa, play Radio 3 from the BBC
  • Alexa, play Asian Network from the BBC

To open the BBC skill

  • Alexa, open the BBC
  • Alexa, open BBC
  • Alexa, play BBC
  • Alexa, launch the BBC

If the BBC skill is open

  • Play Radio 4
  • Listen to Radio Cornwall
  • Radio 1

If a station is already playing

  • Alexa, stop
  • Alexa, pause

If a station has been paused or stopped

  • Alexa, resume. (Resumes the live station.)

Clarification and Error responses

  • Asking for a Radio station that doesn't exist leads to a clarification response.
  • If the user says nothing in response a re-prompt occurs after 8 seconds.

Cards

  • Playing a Radio station using the BBC skill displays a card in the Alexa Companion App.
  • The card displays the Radio Station name, skill name, a Radio station logo and the speech output, for example "Playing Radio 4 from the BBC".

Commands that the Radio skill doesn't support

  • Looping, next, previous, repeat, shuffle, start over.

 

How to use it to play a podcast

Example phrases

To play the latest podcast for a series (when the skill is not already open)

  • Alexa, ask the BBC to play the Archers
  • Alexa, play Funny from the Fringe from the BBC
  • Alexa, ask the BBC to play the Archers podcast
  • Alexa, open the BBC and play Women's Hour

If the BBC skill is open

  • Play the Archers
  • Listen to Woman's Hour
  • Play Desert Island Discs podcast
  • Funny from the Fringe

If a podcast is already playing

  • Alexa, stop
  • Alexa, pause - pause that 
  • Alexa, next - skip
  • Alexa, previous - go back/skip/back up

If a podcast has been paused or stopped

  • Alexa, resume. (Resumes podcast from the timestamp it was paused.)
  • Alexa, previous. (Plays previous podcast if available.)
  • Alexa, next. (Plays next podcast if available.)

Clarification and Error responses

  • Asking for a podcast that doesn't exist leads to a clarification response.
  • If the user says nothing in response a re-prompt occurs after 8 seconds.

Cards

  • Playing a podcast using the BBC skill displays a card in the Alexa Companion App.
  • The card displays the podcast name, skill name, the BBC logo, the speech output for example, "Playing The Archers: 06/11/2017 from the BBC" and the podcast description, for example, "Lilian tries to prevent a disaster."

Commands that the Podcast skill doesn't currently support

We are officially supporting only Amazon Echo devices which support AudioPlayer interface. We are working to extend our integration with other devices in the near future.  

 

Known Issues

We are aware of the following devices not fully supporting Alexa SDK AudioPlayer interface:

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa
  • Sonos devices with Alexa
  • Any other audio speakers with Alexa

We are working alongside our partners to try to solve this limitation, but we do not have any indication if or when this issue is going to be addressed.

We are also working with our partners to enhance the user experience on Amazon Echo Show devices.

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