The BBC Has Launched its First Voice Control Skill for Amazon's Alexa

By Tom Pritchard on at

When it comes to smart speakers, the BBC is actively embracing the future. Not only has it released an interactive audio drama for the Amazon Echo and Google Home, it's gone ahead and released an Alexa skill that brings in all of the BBC's local radio and podcast services - with support for other smart speakers coming in the near future.

The BBC is a big producer of audio content, with 10 national radio stations, six regional stations, and 40 local stations across the UK. There's also the world service being beamed out across the globe, and the fact that it's the world's second largest producer of podcasts. The Alexa skill is designed to make accessing all of that content easy, with a single unified voice service.

According to the BBC is also allows the corporation to introduce a number of pop-up stations to cover events, festivals, and genres without too much hassle.

The skill is freely available from Amazon, and anyone with an Alexa-enabled device just needs to ask her for the radio station or podcast that they want. It'll automatically take you to the live show, or the latest podcast episode, with the option to ask for "previous" episode in the back catalogue. Naturally you can use the usual commands to play, pause, and resume what yu're listening to.

This isn't the first time the BBC has made skills for smart speakers and virtual assistants. Both Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant have BBC News briefings, and the aforementioned interactive drama from BBC R&D. While Alexa is currently the only assistant to have the new voice service, the BBC has confirmed that it will be coming to other assistants and smart speakers in the future.


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