Catch-up radio now on Alexa via Radioplayer
Radioplayer’s Alexa skill has been updated to include podcasts and catch-up programmes.
Until now, the skill only allowed live streaming of member radio stations, but the latest update allows voice control for any programme available on the Radioplayer platform.
The new podcast and catch-up feature launches after months of prototyping and testing, and the Radioplayer team tells RadioToday they have taken huge strides in voice technology to get there.
Michael Hill, Radioplayer MD, explains: ‘One reason why there aren’t many podcasts available on smart speakers is that it’s difficult to navigate thousands of programmes using just your voice. Working closely with the team at Amazon, we’ve solved many of these issues – and we’ll continue to refine our skill as we get feedback from listeners’.
The team decided to simplify the experience by always playing the most recent episode first, if the requested programme or podcast is part of a series. Listeners can say ‘back’ to hear the previous edition, or ‘next’ to hear the following one.
If you want to listen to a specific show, you can ask for it by date, or by day (‘Ask Radioplayer to play last Tuesday’s Woman’s Hour’). For ‘lucky dip’ listening, you can ask for programmes or podcasts by topic (‘Ask Radioplayer to play programmes about fashion’, or ‘Ask Radioplayer to play podcasts about football’).
The voice requests are interpreted by the Radioplayer ‘skill’, and passed into the central Radioplayer search engine. This was first built in 2011, and has been continually refined ever since. On an average day, UK stations make around 10,000 podcast and catch-up items available to listeners across the Radioplayer platform. These can be accessed via the Radioplayer apps, the web Radioplayer, and integrations with Sonos speakers, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, Chromecast – and now the Amazon Echo.