“Alexa! Ask WSKG To Play (insert your favorite public radio show here)!”

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(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Listening to the radio programs offered by WSKG and its partner station WSQX on your Alexa-device is easy, if you remember the magic words, “Alexa, ask WSKG to (blank).” Just fill in the blank and you should be good to go.

That’s the easiest option, but when listening to WSKG on an Alexa-device, there are several alternatives:

1) On Alexa, ask it to load the WSKG skill. Think of a skill as software. After it installs the WSKG skill, Alexa will talk you through the rest of the process. Then, when you want to listen to WSKG/WSQX, just ask her to “open WSKG” and do what she says.  This is where you can use those magic words, “Alexa, ask WSKG to (fill in the blank).”

Besides listening to our live streams from WSKG and WSQX, you’ll also find many of the recent episodes of the public radio programs that we air. That means you can listen to them at your convenience.

2) You can simply ask for NPR and, assuming you’re in our neighborhood, Alexa will automatically air the WSKG streams. When you’re traveling, it’s a bit harder. The NPR skill matches your location up with the nearest public radio station.

3) You can just ask Alexa to broadcast WSKG (or WSQX). It will automatically link you to the WSKG and WSQX streams, using either the NPR, TuneIn or iHeart skills. You won’t need to load those skills. They come pre-programmed into your Alexa device.

“At Your Convenience” Listening On Smart Speakers

Smart speakers don’t just make a worldwide variety of live radio streams available with a simple voice command. A listener can instantly request a specific show, such as WSKG’s Free Range Folk, By Special Invitation from WSKG, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and Live From Here. Not all of WSKG’s radio programs are yet available on-demand, but the list’s growing. You can see it to your right.

Nice To Have

Alexa offers a service that may be very convenient; it’s called a “Flash Briefing.” Using your Alexa phone app, you can customize a “Flash Briefing” with the news you choose. The menu is found under Settings, in the Alexa Preferences category. You search there for programs using Get More Flash Briefing Content.

After selecting your content, Alexa will play your list with a single, simple command, “Alexa, play my Flash Briefing.” If no new content is available, Alexa will skip over it. However, it’s a great way to quickly find out, at your convenience, what’s happening from the sources that you rely upon.

An Alexa device also comes with a built-in “sleep” switch and a “clock radio.” When listening to WSKG, you can ask Alexa to shut off the music in two-hours (or in 20-minutes or at 11:00 pm). Likewise, you can tell Alexa that you’d like to wake up weekdays to WSQX. She’ll ask for a time and then confirm her instructions. Alarms can also be set in Alexa’s phone app.

Be Patient

Smart speakers are improving but imperfect. They can learn, but they still don’t always properly interpret your instructions. Plus, they occasionally offer the wrong response.

Remember they’re always connected to the internet, always searching for data and they’re constantly upgraded by the makers. As a result, the number of “skills” or programs offered by WSKG via smart speakers will likely grow, and listening to WSKG on your smart speaker should grow easier as the technology matures.

4 thoughts on ““Alexa! Ask WSKG To Play (insert your favorite public radio show here)!”

  1. This exact same problem has happened to us. We have tried Windows, iOS, and Android to see it was something due to the OS. Nothing works. Not even going to advanced settings and trying a variety of options. We are strongly weighing the option of no longer supporting WSKG because of this issue. No technical support. Your comment shows we were not the only ones.

    • Thanks for contacting WSKG through WSKG.org. And thank you for your support, we really appreciate it!

      We’re puzzled, as we currently have no other reports of stream problems, and are able to receive the stream ourselves, both at home and at the office.

      Are you able to receive other radio station streams on the same devices? (try other stations through NPR.org for troubleshooting purposes). What sort of internet connection do you use? We’ll do our best to troubleshoot the problem with you.

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