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Alexa now using BBC skill rather than TuneIn


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My two Sonos Ones have previously been playing BBC radio stations via TuneIn without any problems: 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 4' would return 'Playing BBC Radio 4 from TuneIn' and the appropriate audio stream.

Something strange has started happening today. Alexa is now trying to use a BBC skill and, depending on exactly how I ask, may or may not play audio. If I say 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 4', it returns 'Here's Radio 4 FM (tone) the BBC' and no audio stream. If I say 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 4 from the BBC', it again returns 'Here's Radio 4 FM (tone) the BBC' but now with the correct audio stream. Weird, I know: I have tested it again and again.

When I look at my Alexa settings, it has added a new BBC skill. If I remove the skill, it just adds it back whenever I request a BBC radio channel. I don't mind using TuneIn or the BBC, but I don't want to have to specify the source every time.

I don't know whether this relates to yesterday's 8.6 upgrade or perhaps Amazon have made a change to Alexa.

Anybody experiencing similar issues?
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Best answer by mikey2bags 21 June 2018, 11:31

Good news! My BBC radio stations are working again. Even though I still have the BBC skill enabled, requests such as 'Alexa, play Radio 4', 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 4' , 'Alexa, play 6 Music', etc. all play via TuneIn.

I see that neither BBC nor Sonos skills have been updated, so I think that this was caused by skills prioritisation and auto-enablement in the core Alexa code. They have perhaps altered their logic in response to a request from Sonos.

I would like to thank all those that have been involved in identifying and escalating this issue.
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Yes, just noticed today after 8.6 update. Previously, alexa on sonos one used TuneIn which worked fine. Now, if I say “Alexa, play BBC radio five live”, I get “Here’s Radio 5 live” and then “(tone) the BBC” and no audio stream. I have found that saying the name of the sonos one speaker works and uses the TuneIn feed and not the BBC skill (“Alexa play BBC radio five live on sonos”). I have also confirmed that saying “Alexa, play BBC radio five live from the BBC” also works but this time using the BBC skill.

I can’t permanently disable the BBC skill.

Hopefully, sonos will look into this bug.
Same problem here. Saying the device name or 'from TuneIn' work as a workaround.
Same issue, having just updated Sonos to 8.6

Saying "Play Radio 6" gets a response "Here's Radio 6... from the BBC". But it then doesn't even play!

I have deactivated the BBC skill and yet it seems to persist?

Really frustrating...
Same issue, having just updated Sonos to 8.6

Saying "Play Radio 6" gets a response "Here's Radio 6... from the BBC". But it then doesn't even play!

I have deactivated the BBC skill and yet it seems to persist?

Really frustrating...


What happens if you say ...

'Alexa, Play BBC Radio 1 in (Sonos Room Name)' ...doesn’t that work for you ?
I have the same error, the only way that it currently works is as Ken says to specify the room, don't mention Tunein. That is definitely a change, but doesn't seem to make sense!
Hi Ken - thanks, I'll try that when I get home later. I only have one Sonos/Alexa device though.

I should have said, it worked perfectly well before the Sonos update. Specifically, saying "Play BBC Radio 6" played it via Tunein.

Any ideas on how to properly remove the BBC skill welcome also,
justaguy,

I would have thought deleting the Skill would have been sufficient, but when I set my BBC skill up there was an account linking/sharing process that I went through to link my BBC Account to my Amazon Account (sharing agreement), so perhaps a user needs to break that sharing agreement online. I will dig around some more to perhaps see if I can glean any further information.

Meanwhile ...
If I say 'Alexa, Play BBC Radio 6 in the Kitchen' ... where Kitchen is my Sonos One Room name ... it plays Radio 6 from Tune-in rather than the BBC Skill.
I have the same issue as mikey2bags. 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 4' worked fine yesterday morning (playing via TuneIn), but when the same command was used in the evening, it just came back with 'Here's Radio 4 FM (tone) the BBC' and no audio stream. I hadn't updated my Sonos system at that point, therefore the problem was evident prior to the 8.6 update. I then tried the 8.6 update hoping that it would resolve the problem but with no luck. I suspect that the cause of the problem is therefore unlikely to directly be the 8.6 update.
If a user decides to leave the BBC Skill installed on their Amazon Alexa account, the example voice-command in my previous post will work to play a radio station from Tune-In, by including the Sonos Room Name.

However, if a user decides they would prefer to use the BBC Skill instead, then this is their recommended (example) command to play a radio station...

'Alexa, ask the BBC to play Radio One'

Just for info..!
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Thanks for all the replies - it isn't just me then.

Specifying either the room (invokes TuneIn) or the source (either TuneIn or the BBC) appears to work. It is just unqualified requests that invoke the BBC skill and no audio stream.

I note your comment about the 8.6 update kbbc. If I had to guess, I would say the problem was introduced when the Sonos skill was updated a day ago. I imagine you were using that even before you updated your system to 8.6.

Over to you Sonos?
Cheers, guys. Seems it might then be the BBC skill or Sonos skill that's at fault?

I can get the radio to play by specifying tunein, but it's less natural and having to explain to others which stations they do and don't need to specify Tunein for is a bit daft.

Agree it would be great to get the Sonos view on this now...

Still don't understand why, when I disable the BBC skill, it still 'exists' on the Sonos device.
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Thanks for your suggestions Ken_Griffiths. Unfortunately disabling/removing or linking/unlinking the BBC skill doesn't work: it just comes back automatically the next time you request a BBC station.

I know there are viable workarounds, but my wife has only just got over the fact her beloved radio has been replaced and now faces another change!
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Hi all

There have been some issues after the 8.6 update when more skills became supported via the Beta Sonos skill. Have you tried Disabling then Enabling the Sonos skill?
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Exactly the same issue here - can now only get it to play Radio 5 or whatever by specifying 'on TuneIn'. Otherwise it says 'the BBC' and then silence.
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Hi all

There have been some issues after the 8.6 update when more skills became supported via the Beta Sonos skill. Have you tried Disabling then Enabling the Sonos skill?


Yep, tried this - no change though.
I've now tried what I thought was the nuclear option - a full factory reset of the Sonos One, while disabling both Sonos and BBC skills from the Alexa app. No joy!

Specifically, saying "Play Radio 6" results in "Here's Radio 6... (tone) from the BBC" then silence.

How do I get Alexa to forget I ever enabled the BBC skill in the first place?!
I submitted a technical support query to Amazon Alexa... got this response:

I'm sorry to hear that Alexa does not play BBC radio station.

Please be informed that we are currently experiencing a technical issue that may prevent customers from accessing BBC radio in Alexa.

We apologise for the inconvenience this causes. Situations such as this are rare and our goal is to help resolve any problems you encounter as quickly as possible.

Our engineers are aware of this issue and are diligently working to resolve it. At this time, we are unable to provide an estimated time of resolution.

I kindly ask you to please try again in a couple of hours or more to play music, if it’s still not working please rest assured that we are working really hard in order to solve it.

Thanks for your patience and understanding in this regard. ​
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Thanks for contacting them! At least we know they're apparently working on a fix.
I have also noted that Amazon has been working for a while on installing skills for their users 'automatically'...

https://voicebot.ai/2018/03/22/amazon-experimenting-alexa-skill-auto-enablement/

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/26/alexa-will-soon-gain-a-memory-converse-more-naturally-and-automatically-launch-skills/?guccounter=1

Perhaps that’s why some are now unable to get rid of the BBC Skill from their systems?
Cheers, Ken - sounds very plausible.
I've been speaking with Sonos about this one this morning. I have a Dot plus Zoneplayer in Kitchen (to which I've always had to say 'Alexa, Play Radio 1 in Kitchen') plus Play 1's in Bedroom/Bathroom grouped (to which I've always been able to say simply 'Alexa play Radio 1' and it's gone t TuneIn and done what's expected.

Afetr update few days ago all of a sudden;

Kitchen (Dot/ZP): Initially wouldn't do anything via Alexa. Then started to obey commands to Play Radio 5, but wouldn't play anything else (for example, 'Alexa Play Adele in Kitchen' got the correct response but no sound.

Bedroom (Play 1): Wouldn't do anything. Started giving the same different response others had to Radio 5 requests. And wouldn't play anything else using Alexa commands,. Gave right response (for example 'Playing songs by Adele from Spotify') but no music.

Sonos advised the below;

Hi Paul, there's been a recent change to Alexa in which she now prioritises the BBC skill over the TuneIn skill for playing BBC radio. The BBC skill actually is not compatible with Sonos right now. That means, to get BBC playback on your Sonos players you must explicitly state, "Alexa, play BBC Radio 5 from Tune In on the Kitchen" or whichever room name and station you prefer.

They also went on to say that they have no idea if or when the situation would change.

After further exchanges, I ended up removing the Alex control from Sonos, removing devices from Alexa app and effectively re-installing everything. I am now back to where I was before except for the inability to tell the Play 1's to simply 'Play Radio 5'.

To play Radio 5 on Play 1's I can now say either;

'Alexa, play Radio 5 on Bedroom', or
'Alexa, play Radio 5 from TuneIn'

I can still tell the Play 1's 'Alexa Play Absolute 80's' or 'Alexa play Heart FM' (please don't judge my music tastes :-)) and that will work fine.

I had just about got my lovely wife used to talking to Alexa and having to append 'In Kitchen' when talking to kitchen Sonos but not in Bedroom. Just imagine my issues now..... 😞
I had just about got my lovely wife used to talking to Alexa and having to append 'In Kitchen' when talking to kitchen Sonos but not in Bedroom. Just imagine my issues now..... :-(
Sounds like the wife needs updating with a newer model. ha ha 😃 (Slap!!!? ...ooooeeerr! ??)
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Yesterday "Play Radio 4 on BBC" worked. Today it doesn't, but "Ask BBC to play Radio 4" works. It's very confusing when they change what works and what doesn't.
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It begs the question. If it ain't broken why fix it? I am having the same issues. No radio at all via voice on my Sonos One's. And I do mean No radio via any of the Alexa skill: "sorry we are having problems connecting with your Alexa skill right now. Please try again later".

😠
I had that, but deleted all 'voice control' settings in Sonos app and deleted devices in Alexa app, reinstalled all and got back to everything playing OK, albeit needing to ad the 'In Location' command suffix.

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