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Using Alexa to listen to the radio & music

Published on 16 Oct 2022

Alexa makes listening to the radio or music incredibly easy for vision-impaired people. 

You can play radio stations from around the world and select your favourite songs without having to fiddle with buttons or dials. In this article, you'll learn how to use Alexa to listen to the radio, podcasts and music. 

New to Alexa? Find out more about getting started.     

Listening to the radio & podcasts

Many global radio stations now stream their live broadcasts, archived shows and podcasts over the internet, which means you can access them through Alexa.

For example, say 'Alexa, play ABC radio in Sydney' or 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 5 Live', or any other station you can think of and you can hear live broadcasts from around the world.

If you want to listen to a particular programme, find out how you can do that through BBC Sounds, for example, below.  


An Amazon Echo beside a podcast and radio icon

Streaming BBC Sounds

The BBC allows you to listen to all its live broadcasts, as well as its podcasts and archived shows, via BBC Sounds. You'll need to set up a few things first. Follow the steps below to enable BBC Sounds through the Alexa app on your phone. 

Step 1

Tap on 'more' and select 'skills and games'. Search for BBC Sounds and tap 'enable to use'. You'll be asked to connect Alexa to your BBC account. If you don't have an account, you can set one up. 

Step 2

Ask for the station, programme or podcast you want to hear, for example, say, 'play The Newsroom' or 'play BBC Radio 4'. 

Step 3

Say, 'Alexa, stop or pause' and 'Alexa, play or resume' to stop or restart the episode you're listening to. 

Step 4

To move backwards or forwards between episodes of a programme, say 'Alexa, previous episode' or 'Alexa, next episode'. 

Step 5

Once you've activated BBC Sounds, you can simply ask to Alexa play any BBC radio station or programme without asking her to 'open BBC Sounds' again. 

Step 6

To find out more about using BBC Sounds with Alexa, go to the BBC website using the link below.

BBC Sounds & Alexa

Playing music

You can play a wide range of music for free through your Alexa device. But there are some limitations to what you can choose, unless you pay for a music subscription service. For example, if you asked Alexa to play Frank Sinatra, it would play some of his songs, but also other artists in the same genre. 

Paid subscriptions

You can get unlimited access to millions of songs by subscribing to a music streaming service such as Amazon MusicApple Music or Spotify for a monthly fee. Each service has its own pricing and packages, which you can find out about on their websites. 

An Amazon Echo playing music

Read more about Alexa

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