Smart Speakers

One in six Americans now owns a “smart speaker.” Public radio listeners make up a large part of that growing population.

For some time now, BPR has been working on making its streams available on the major smart speaker systems.  At this time, we know the following commands work for both the Echo (Amazon) and Google Home:

“Play BPR News on TuneIn” for our BPR News content stream.

“Play BPR Classic on TuneIn” for our BPR Classic content stream

Both of these phrases should pull in our digital streams from TuneIn Radio where they are hosted.  As we worked to find the phrases that would be successful, or in many cases didn’t work at all - we found that there are times when a phrase that worked previously would stop for no particular reason.  We have also seen cases where the same command may provide different results - or simply does not work – for you while it works for other listeners.  Our best guess is that because smart speakers are still relatively new devices, there are constant changes being made by developers to the core software which may have the side effect of changing how some commands are handled.

Siri / Homepod (Apple) uses a slightly different command to bring up our streams. 

“Play the radio station BPR News”

“Play the radio station BPR Classic”

While Google and Amazon pull our streams from TuneIn, Siri/Homepod pulls the stream from Apple Music.

NPR also recently released an Alexa skill that lets listeners set a station local to them and use the simple command of “Play NPR” to play that station in the future.  The first time you ask Alexa to play NPR, it will take you through a short process to find and set your local station. Other commands that can be used with this skill are:

  • Ask NPR to play [station name or call letters]
  • Ask NPR to browse by location
  • Ask NPR what's playing
  • Ask NPR to save this as my station
  • Ask NPR for help

Please let us know if you have questions about using a smart speaker. Email us at