It can be frustrating when Alexa is unable to follow commands, such as playing your radio station.
But you shouldn’t despair, as there are many workarounds you can try.
Here are eight things you can do if Alexa won’t play your radio station:
- Enable the Alexa Radio option.
- Check your Wi-Fi connection.
- Ensure that you can stream the station in your location.
- Check if it’s the Skill or Device that’s malfunctioning.
- Update your Alexa device.
- Say the right command.
- See to it that Alexa understands you.
- Restart your device.
Need a guide on how to do these hacks? Make sure to read on as I will discuss them in detail below.
1. Enable the Alexa Radio Option
Is it your first time streaming a radio station via Alexa? Then the first thing you should do is to enable the option.
To do so, you need to follow these steps:
- Open your Alexa app on your device.
- Open the sidebar by clicking on the lines in the upper left corner.
- Click on “Skills and Games” then “Categories.”
- Go to “Featured Categories” and scroll sideways. Go to the “Music and Audio” option.
- Tap on the search bar to type “Radio.” Here, you can choose from any of the following skills:
- myTuner Radio, where you can play over 50,000 stations from 200+ areas
- Simple Radio, which features over 40,000 local and international stations
- Radio Anchor, which supports foreign broadcast stations such as CBC, All Times India, etc.
- My Radio, which has a limited repertoire of radio stations from Boston, Denver, and Washington DC
- Radio Paradise, where you get to play songs compiled by two actual human beings
There are niche radio streams that you can activate as well.
Take the case of Radio D-day, which, as the name suggests, features the broadcast of that fateful day.
There’s also Radio Complete Day, which has everything Washington DC-based WJSV aired from September 1939 onwards.
With Vintage Radio, you can take a stroll down memory lane. Here, you can stream radio shows from the olden days – such as Dimension X or Gunsmoke.
Once you have enabled the “skill” you want, you can play your favorite station. It’s a matter of asking, “Alexa, play Totally 93.9 Miami” (or any other station, of course).
Tip: Should you want to skip through some of the broadcasts (especially for niche stations,) you can always say “Alexa, next.”
2. Check Your Wi-Fi Connection
If you’ve been able to play your radio station before – but can’t seem to do it now – then you should check your internet connection.
This, after all, can cause your radio station to buffer and not play anything.
When you have a Wi-Fi that is all fine and dandy, doing the following should help resolve your streaming problems:
- Keep your Wi-Fi router in a central location. This placement will help optimize the signal throughout the house.
- Since the Wi-Fi signal spreads downward, mount the router as high as possible. Again, this will help maximize the coverage.
- Connect your device to the router’s 5 GHz channel instead.
- Turn off any other connected devices that you’re not using at the moment. This should help relieve the ‘congestion’ in your Wi-Fi connection.
- Instead of putting it on the floor, place your device in a higher location.
- Ensure that your device is far away from walls and metals. Avoid interference sources such as baby monitors and microwave ovens. They emit signals that are similar to your Wi-Fi router.
That said, don’t forget to check your network firewall. It will be best if you make sure that the following ports are open. These will keep your radio station playing without a hitch:
3. Ensure that You Can Stream the Station in Your Location
Although the skills mentioned above allow you to play various stations, some are limited to their home countries.
One good example is BBC radio, which is only available in the UK.
If you try to play an Aussie station with your Amazon UK or US account, the same thing will happen.
In other words, it’s best to use a local account if you want to play a local station.
Likewise, you should use your international profile if you’re going to play something from abroad.
4. Check if It’s the Skill or Device That’s Malfunctioning
So how do you know if the skill or the device is at fault?
You can try to play the radio station on one skill – and another.
For example, tune into your radio station via iHeartRadio, then try TuneIn afterward.
If it plays on one and doesn’t on the other, it’s safe to say that the skill has the issues.
However, if both skills fail to play your radio station, you will need to troubleshoot your device.
More than just checking your Wi-Fi connection, you could also try the helpful hacks I’ve listed below.
You might also want to check out: 12 Reasons Why Alexa Doesn’t Turn On + 12 Fixes
5. Update Your Alexa Device
Updates help improve your Alexa’s performance. It also adds new features to your device.
Without updates, Alexa may fail to play your favorite radio station. That said, you can check your device’s status by following these steps:
- Open your Alexa app
- Select Device, then pick Echo and Alexa.
- Choose your device.
- Tap on the About option to check your device’s software version.
If your Alexa is not yet updated, go to Settings > Device Options. Tap on software updates. It should get your device up to speed.
6. Say the Right Command
While your Alexa app is smart, it does follow a fixed set of invocations. So if you say something else, the device might not interpret it the right way.
To play a radio station, make sure to bark the command “Alexa, play (insert radio station call letters here).”
You can also say the condensed version: “Alexa, (radio station call sign).”
Moving forward, you must mention the correct order of your radio station’s letters. Saying “WOVC” instead of “WVOC” will confuse your Alexa device.
7. See to it That Alexa Understands You
You’ve said the correct command, and you’re pretty sure you gave the accurate call sign.
So why isn’t your Alexa device playing your radio station?
One of the reasons this happens is that the device did not understand what you said.
If you’re curious as to what your Alexa app heard, ask your device, “Alexa, tell me what you heard.”
For this case, you can try to use the Voice Training tool.
Located in ‘Your Profile,’ this is a program where you can utter 25 phrases from a certain distance. With this, your device will get a ‘feel’ of your pronunciation quirks.
The quick workaround here is to place your Alexa device in an open space.
Placing it near noisy appliances such as the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or TV can affect the way Alexa hears your command.
8. Restart Your Device
If all else fails, there’s still something you can do: restart everything!
When restarting network devices, wait for at least 20 seconds before you turn them on again.
Doing this ‘rebooting trick’ should get you into a less congested channel. This often translates to a faster internet connection, which is something your Alexa device might need.
How Do You Restart the Alexa App?
Power the Alexa app down by pulling the plugged device from the outlet. If it’s running on batteries, remove and reinsert them once again.
Editor’s pick: 3 Ways To Make Alexa Stop Playing Music at a Certain Time