BBC Alexa Skill

  • 18 November 2020
  • 5 replies

There is a difference between the way the BBC Skill works on a Sonos One speaker and an Echo Dot. Playing the current radio program works fine and the same on each speaker.

On a Dot, you can ask Alexa to play a specific program which might be from a previous day. If you stop the programme you can then resume the programme from where you stopped. In fact, if you use the BBC Sounds app to continue listening when you then resume on the Dot it picks up from where the BBC Sounds app finished. All very neat. The Dot also allows you to fast forward through a programme.

On the Sonos One, you can still ask for a specific programme. However, stopping and resuming the programme actually restarts the programme rather than resumes. What’s worse is that the BBC skill announces how much of the programme is left making you think it has resumed. And then fast-forwarding a programme actually restarts it! All the opposite of very neat!

I’ve tried the following to sort it out:

  • Updated Sonos
  • Disabled and re-enabled the BBC skill
  • Removed Alexa as voice control on the Sonos and re-added
  • Unplugged the speaker and reset up (as suggested on the BBC site)

Unless an Alexa skill, added through the phone app, behaves differently depending on which Alexa device is being used, it would appear that the Sonos Alexa implementation has a problem.

5 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +13

Hi @Tom_147, thank you for reaching out to the Sonos Community. We appreciate your detailed post describing the issue as well as the steps that you did, let me help and try to figure this out.

Let me suggest the following steps to see if it will work for you.

Option 1: Add BBC Radio in Sonos app:
- If BBC Radio is the default music service in the Alexa app, you can add BBC Radio streaming URL in the Sonos app.
- You need to contact the station you wish to add directly is often the easiest way of finding the Streaming URL. Just make sure the stream is of one of the compatible formats; MP3, AAC or WMA.

  • Using the Sonos App for iOS or Android:
    • From the Browse tab, select Radio by TuneIn
    • Tap My Radio Stations
    • Tap the three dots in the top right and tap Add New Radio Station
    • Enter the Streaming URL and Station Name and tap OK

Option 2: Set TuneIn as the default music service in the Alexa app
- BBC Radio is working in Sonos when asked Alexa to play it on TuneIn, you can set TuneIn as the default music service in the Alexa app

  • Open the Alexa App on your phone or go to
  • Click the Menu button in the top right corner.
  • Go to settings.
  • Scroll down to Alexa Preferences and find Music & Media.
  • Choose Default Music Service and select TuneIn.

If the steps listed above do not resolve your issue, please contact Sonos Customer Care for further assistance. If you need help with any other information, please be sure to let us know. The Sonos Community is always here to help.

I don't think you understood the problem. Playing BBC radio is fine and using TuneIn wouldn't give any advantage. The problems are: playing a show from a previous day and asking it to fast forward; playing a show you've already part listened to and resume from where you left off. I don't think TuneIn can help there. I don't want to change my default music source to TuneIn. All I'm really asking for is that the Sonos implementation of Alexa is the same as the Echo Dot and that the skills function in the same way. 

Userlevel 4
Badge +13

Hi @Tom_147, thank you for your response and we appreciate your feedback. You can do all the voice command tricks on Sonos voice-enabled speakers, start playing music, and knowing the weather forecast. You’re right, Sonos doesn’t have the same feature as the Alexa Echo Dot that can resume or restart the program. What I can do is send in a feature request to make this available in the Sonos app. We don't have the timeline and the information to share with you about this but you can check our announcements here in the community or from our website. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have further questions, additional feature requests, or concerns. We are always happy to help out.

OK. So it's good to hear it acknowledged that the Sonos Alexa isnt the same and needs more work. Having these features on Sonos would be an encouragement to buy more speakers. 

Userlevel 4
Badge +13

Hi @Tom_147, thank you for your response. Please do reach out if you have any questions or concerns about your Sonos system. You may also reach out to our Sonos Customer Care support team to assist you. The Sonos Community is always here to help.