If you want to listen to the radio, but lack the hardware to do so, Amazon’s Alexa can fill in as your disc jockey with skills that tap into current and past radio broadcasts.
You enjoy listening to the radio for news, sports, weather, and special programs, but maybe you’re not near a radio, or maybe you no longer even have a radio at home. No problem: Your Amazon Echo can serve up your favorite radio stations and broadcasts. A variety of skills in Alexa’s repertoire turn her into a virtual disc jockey.
Open the Alexa App
Open the Alexa app on your mobile device. Tap the hamburger icon and tap Skills.
Search for New Skills
Tap the Categories button: You’ll find radio stations and skills in the categories for Music & Audio and News. You can also track down stations and programs by typing “radio” in the search field. Now, let’s look at some specific radio skills.
Say “Alexa, ask Simple Radio
to play [name of station/genre].” With Simple Radio, you can request more than 40,000 stations, including BBC, NPR, 77 WABC, KEXP, WBAP, and WCBS. You can also ask the skill to play certain genres or types of programming, such as sports radio, news radio, classical radio, or jazz radio, and Simple Radio serves up a corresponding station.
Say: “Alexa, ask MyTuner Radio
to play [name of station/genre].” With this skill, you can tune up more than 50,000 stations
from 200 regions around the world. You can request stations by name, such as NPR, BBC, WABC, 1010 WINS, or WYNC. You can ask for stations by genre, such as rock, jazz, classical, or country. And you can narrow down the choices by saying something like “Alexa, ask MyTuner Radio for the best jazz stations in Switzerland.” If more than one station matches your request, Alexa lists the choices and prompts you to say the number of the station you want to hear.
Want to be surprised by different songs across different genres? Say: “Alexa, play Radio Paradise
.” You’ll be treated to songs chosen by actual human beings. If you like the song, say “Alexa, ask Radio Paradise what’s playing.” If not, say “Alexa, next song” until you find one you do like.
Say “Alexa, open My Radio
.” You can now request any of the stations in this skill’s repertoire, including WWAF, KINK FM, Comedy 103.1, KISS FM, Newstalk 1490, The Fish 95.9, and 93.9 The Beat.
Want to hear the latest news from different sources? Say “Alexa, open Radio Anchor
.” Alexa asks what you want to hear. You can request the latest news, top news, or world news from such sources as The New York Times
, BBC, CBC, Voice of America, Times of India
, and All India Radio.
Have a favorite radio station? You may be able to ask Alexa to play it directly, either through Amazon or a supported third-party audio service like iHeart Radio or TuneIn. Just say “Alexa, play [name of station].” You can ask for a station by the frequency on the dial or the call letters. Alexa either starts playing the station or tells you she couldn’t find it. A helpful website for tracking down radio stations is Radio-Locator
. Here, you can seek out stations by location, call letters, or format.
Go back in time to hear the complete radio broadcast of the D-Day invasion from World War II. Say “Alexa, open Radio D-Day
.” You’ll hear the actual broadcast from that day, starting with an announcer breaking into a music program with the initial news of the invasion. You can skip ahead in the broadcast by saying “Alexa, next.”
Radio Complete Day
Say “Alexa, open Radio Complete Day
” and you can listen to an entire day’s broadcast from Washington D.C. radio station WJSV from September 21, 1939—music, news, programs, and more. Skip ahead in the broadcast by saying “Alexa, next.”
Say “Alexa, open Vintage Radio
,” and Alexa serves up a random radio show from yesteryear. You can listen to episodes from such series as Dimension X
, Adventures of Sam Spade
, The Abbott & Costello Show
, and The Jack Benny Program
. You can jump from one program to the next by saying “Alexa, next.”
Radio Fun Time
Say “Alexa, open Radio Fun Time
.” Alexa prompts you to ask her to play an old-time radio show. You can ask Alexa to find a specific show such as Gunsmoke
or Inner Sanctum
, or a performer such as Jack Benny or Bob Hope. You can ask Alexa to recommend a random episode or a specific type of program, such as a comedy, crime drama, or kids show. You can also ask for specific items by saying “Alexa, ask Radio Fun Time to find ‘Truman announces German surrender.'”
Specific Old-Time Radio Programs
Finally, you can ask Alexa to play or open specific old-time radio programs by name. Listen to Radio Mystery Theater, Radio Mercury Theater, The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show, The Green Hornet, Captain Midnight, Superman, The Whistler, The Shadow, X Minus One, The Lone Ranger, Dimension X, Dick Tracy, and You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx.