Skip to main content

How to use Alexa to play radio stations

Beyond its wide range of music-streaming capabilities, did you know that your favorite Alexa speaker can also function as a tuner for local radio broadcasts? If you want to add some variety to your next listening session, or are sick of Spotify and Apple Music, Alexa sports an entire medley of awesome radio skills for you to enjoy.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • The Alexa app

  • An Alexa-powered smart speaker or display

You’ll need to ensure you’ve got the most up-to-date version of the Alexa app on your smartphone, and naturally, you need an Amazon Echo smart speaker or display. If you own the latter, you’ll also get some visual information about what you’re listening to on-screen.

Amazon Echo 4th Gen smart speaker on a table.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to set up Alexa to play radio stations

The process is quite simple and easy, though depending on where you live, you may have different options for Alexa Skills that are available to play radio stations.

Step 1: Open the Alexa app on your phone. Tap the More menu button in the bottom-right corner of the app.

Step 2: Choose Skills and games, then look for Featured categories boxes along the top of the app screen.

Step 3: Next, use the search feature in the upper-right corner to search for "radio."

A list of available radio tuning apps for your area will appear on the display, including popular favorites like and MyTunerRadio, or check out our list of the best internet radio stations.

In Canada, you may see RadioPlayer Canada or similar options. Click on Enable to use. You may see Launch if you’ve already enabled this Skill.

the best internet radios for your favorite music stations radio
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to play local radio stations

Using a few easy voice commands, you can get Alexa to fire up your favorite local stations.

Step 1: To access your radio stations, just say, “Alexa, ask MyTuner to play X92.9 Calgary,” or whatever the name is of your favorite station. You can also say something like, “Alexa, ask to play NPR,” and it will automatically locate the affiliate nearest to your location. Of course, if you live in Topeka and want to listen to the Washington affiliate, you can just specify that in your request and Alexa will deliver.

A word of warning that in some cases, Alexa may not quite recognize the station name and you may end up listening to a different station with a similar name, call sign, or frequency number.

Some Alexa users report that some of these services can be intermittently accurate with voice commands, which may not be surprising given the limited number of frequencies and the high number of radio stations across the globe.

Step 2: If you're unsure of what call sign or frequency your station is using, is a great tool for figuring out what on-air credentials your favorite broadcast is using.

Amazon Echo Show 10.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to travel back in time (with Alexa-powered radio skills) and more

In addition to national, international, and local broadcasts, your Alexa-powered speaker or display is also capable of some pretty impressive radio skills that add a bunch of entertainment options to your listening experience.

Step 1: Want to hear a full day's worth of radio from 1939? Alexa's Radio Complete Day skill takes you back in time to WJSV's September 21 radio programming, including music, news, and everything else that was wedged into the date's broadcast.

To enable, you can search for the Skill in the Alexa app or ask your Alexa-enabled device to add the skill by saying, "Alexa, add Radio Complete Day skill."

Step 2: Looking for music curated by actual human beings instead of algorithms? Ask Alexa to add Radio Paradise to its assembly of skills.

Blending multiple genres, Radio Paradise delivers top music and underground gems to your ears in a randomized fashion. The idea here is the serendipity of hearing something brand-new.

After adding the skill, you can even ask Alexa to skip tracks and identify what song or artist is currently playing.

Step 3: Sometimes there's nothing better for a case of the blues than a show-stopping musical. For your next rain-spattered Wednesday, ask Alexa to add the Sounds of Broadway skill to her roster of radio abilities.

When enabled, the skill will have Alexa playing theatre hits from Broadway, off-Broadway, and London stages, and it's completely free!

A Netgear Nighthawk AX6600 wireless router creates a powerful network for streaming TV shows.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why has Alexa stopped playing radio?

One of the most common causes of an audio dropout when using an Alexa device is that the smart speaker or display is experiencing some kind of Wi-Fi issue. Fortunately, there are a number of quick fixes you can use to get around this trouble.

Step 1: For starters, if your router is being obscured by furniture or is locked away inside a cabinet, it's best to relocate it. Routers perform optimally in open-air environments where network transmissions can be broadcast without object-based interferences.

Step 2: In situations where you're running two network bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz), your 2.4GHz band may become overwhelmed by the amount of devices connected to it. Try to connect your Alexa device to the 5GHz band to see if the issue goes away.

Echo Dot on an entryway table.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to set music and radio alarms with Alexa

Want to wake up to Metallica's Enter Sandman or your favorite local station? Alexa has got you covered. In addition to quick streams from your favorite music platforms and radio skills, you can combine these music add-ons with Alexa's alarm function to start your day off the right way.

Step 1: With dedicated music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, you can ask Alexa to wake you to a specific artist, album, song, or genre.

To do so, say, "Alexa, wake me up to Metallica at 7:00 a.m.," or, "Alexa, wake me up to metal at 10:00 a.m." You can also specify whether you want this alarm to wake you every Tuesday or every single morning by clarifying so in your voice command.

Step 2: You can also use Alexa to wake up to your favorite radio stations. Just say, "Alexa, wake me up to NPR at 5:00 a.m.," or "Alexa, wake me up to WGBH at 8:00 a.m.," and the voice assistant will get you up and running with the broadcasts you love the most.

There are all kinds of listening options on an Amazon Echo smart speaker or speaker with a display screen. You can choose music, news, or podcasts, or venture down the rabbit hole of relaxing audio Skills: Fall asleep to the sound of a cat purring, a clock ticking, rainforest or nature sounds, or ocean waves crashing.

These audio options can also be a great alternative if you want something playing in the background, but without a lot of voices and talking so you can focus on writing that report that’s due at the end of the day. Relaxing audio or internet radio can also be useful for drowning out the guy in the next cubicle who’s loud-talking on his Zoom call.

Surf the entire list of Skills and Games inside the Alexa app to see what else you can access, or just ask your Echo smart device, “Alexa, what can you do?" for an updated list of options.

Editors' Recommendations

Michael Bizzaco
Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from…
Best smart plug Black Friday deals: Get connected from just $10
The Eufy Smart Plug Mini connected to a kitchen outlet.

If you have a lot of devices without smart capabilities, it can be a bit frustrating, especially if you want to turn things on and off by talking to Alexa. Luckily, there's a solution in the form of smart plugs that will let you switch anything connected to them on and off right from your phone. Not only that, but a few of them have additional capabilities, such as checking how much electricity is being used, which is great if you're trying to lower your electric bill by being conscious of your usage. While upgrading your whole home with smart plugs might be expensive, today is the first day of Black Friday, so there are a ton of great Black Friday deals you can take advantage of, and we've collected our favorites below.
Best smart plug Black Friday deal

The TP-Link Tapo Mini is one of the most affordable options for smart plugs in the market, but it doesn't sacrifice features to keep its cost low. Once it's set up, you can create schedules and timers for the electronic devices that are plugged into it, or turn them on or off manually through the Tapo app. You can also use voice commands for these functions, as the smart plug is compatible with smart home platforms such as Google Home, Apple Home, Amazon's Alexa, and Samsung's SmartThings, and the digital assistants that are associated with each of them. You'll get all of these features for a very low price of $10 for Black Friday, following a $10 discount from Best Buy on the TP-Link Tapo Mini's original price of $20.

Read more
The best electric lawn mower Black Friday deals we’ve found
The Senix X5 battery-powered electric lawn mower outdoors.

Get your yard in shape with the help of an electric lawn mower, which you can get with huge savings if you take advantage of this year's Black Friday deals. There's actually a lot of offers to choose from between retailers like Walmart and Amazon, and for most people, the sheer number may prove to be overwhelming. Don't worry because we've got your back -- we've rounded up the best bargains below, and we've even highlighted our favorite deal. Whether you're on a tight budget or you're willing to splurge on a high-end model, there's definitely something for you out there, but you need to hurry on deciding which one of these lawn mower deals to buy because we're not sure when these discounts will expire.
Best electric lawn mower Black Friday deal

The Greenworks 40V, 17-inch cordless electric lawn mower is powered by a 4.0 Ah removable battery for a runtime of up to 60 minutes, which should be enough time for you to go through your lawn. The 17-inch desk is durable but lightweight, and a single button grants access to five positions for cutting height from 1-1/4 inches to 3-3/8 inches. The electric lawn mower also features a push-button start mechanism, and folding handles for easy storage. From its original price of $300, it's down to $227 from Walmart, for savings of $73 for Black Friday.

Read more
Echo Dot vs Echo Pop: Which Black Friday deal should you shop?
Echo Dot 5 in a kitchen.

Amazon Echo Black Friday deals on its own products, like the Echo smart speaker line, are predictably pretty late. If you're looking to make your home smarter, these are the Black Friday deals you need. However, what if you can't decide if you want an Echo Dot or an Echo Pop? Don't worry! We're here to advise, taking a look at what's out there and comparing the two most popular budget priced smart speakers from Amazon. Take a look below while we take you though everything.
Amazon Echo Pop -- $18, was $40

The Amazon Echo Pop is a smaller and cuter version of the Amazon Echo Dot. It's the kind of cute that even us with existing Echo Dots are tempted by a switch to this sleek look. It's small enough to blend into any surrounding but also charming enough that you won't mind looking at it. It has all the Alexa abilities so you can ask Alexa to play music, command smart devices in your home, set timers, or simply check the weather or news. As with other devices, it won't listen until you say Alexa with the light bar changing blue to tell you when it's listening. It's all pretty convenient right down to being able to surround yourself with Multi-room music. It even has eero built-in to extend your Wi-Fi network at home.

Read more