You likely already know Amazon’s Echo devices can connect to many popular music and podcasting apps like Spotify or Apple Music to keep you entertained. Did you also know Alexa can access tens of thousands of local, national, and international radio stations for you too? Here’s how to get Alexa to play radio stations.
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.
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.
- Tap the More menu button in the bottom right corner of the app.
- Choose Skills & Games then look for Featured Categories boxes along the top of the app screen.
- Next, use the search feature in the upper right corner to search radio.
A list of available radio tuning apps for your area will display, including popular favorites like radio.com 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.
How to play local radio stations
To access your radio stations, just say, “Alexa, ask MyTuner to play X92.9 Calgary,” or whatever the station name is. You can also say something like, “Alexa, ask radio.com 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.
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, clock ticking, rain forest or nature sounds, or ocean waves crashing.
These audio options can also be a great alternative if you want something on 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 great 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 have access to, or just ask your, “Alexa, what can you do?” for an updated list of options.
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