Tips & Tricks

Step by Step Guide to Play BBC Radio Station via Voice Control

  • 4 January 2020
  • 41 replies
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Userlevel 7
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There have been a lot of threads and questions asking how to initiate the playing of BBC Radio Stations after the BBC removed voice control of their stations from within TuneIn. So I thought I would bring all of the recommended steps together in one thread.

  1. Open the Sonos App and click on the Search icon and then select ‘Stations’ below the Search Text box;
  2. Type into the Search Text box, the name of the BBC radio station that you want to listen to and against the station in the list below click on the three vertical buttons and then select ‘Add to My Radio Stations’. Then click ‘Done’ (For the purposes of this example, I will use Radio 2);
  3. Open www.IFTTT.com and either create an account or log-in to your existing account;
  4. If using a Web Browser, click on your profile picture in the top right hand corner of the screen, to the left of the Explore button, and select ‘Create’;
  5. Click on the ‘+’ symbol and enter ‘Alexa’ in the Search Text Box, then select the Amazon Alexa icon;
  6. Select ‘Say a Specific Phase’ and enter ‘play radio two’ before clicking ‘Create trigger’;
  7. Click on the newly positioned ‘+’ symbol and enter ‘Sonos’ in the Search Text Box, then select the Sonos icon;
  8. Choose the Action ‘Play Favorite’ from the list displayed;
  9. Select BBC Radio 2 from the Favorites list and then choose which Sonos Device and what Group of Sonos Players to include.  Then click ‘Create trigger’ and Finish;

This will now work with the Alexa command ‘Alexa, Trigger Play Radio Two’

If you don’t want to introduce the additional ‘Trigger’ Command within the Alexa phrase, then in addition please:

  1. Open the Alexa App and select the three vertical lines in the top left of your screen and select ‘Routines’;
  2. Select the ‘+’ symbol in the top right-hand screen to create a new Routine;
  3. Click ‘Enter routine name’ and type in ‘play radio two’ and then ‘Next’ in the top right-hand of your screen;
  4. Click ‘When this happens’ and ‘Voice’ and then type ‘play radio two’ and then ‘Next’ in the top right-hand of your screen;
  5. Now select ‘Add action’ and select ‘IFTTT’.  You will now see all of the SONOS applets that you have created within IFTTT, please select ‘play radio two’ and then select ‘Next’ in the top right hand of your screen;
  6. Now click ‘Save’ in the top right hand of your screen

This will now work with the command ‘Alexa, Play Radio Two’

EDIT:

Just repeat the instructions for different Radio Stations or different Sonos Rooms.


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41 replies

Userlevel 2
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Related to this, some users are reporting that using the initial workaround: “Since this morning, while listening to BBC Rado 2 on Alexa, I’ve been hearing periodic announcements that after 22 March, Radio 2 will cease to work on my smart speaker and I should contact the manufacturer”. 
Anyone else getting this and have any more background rather than the historic removal of bbc radio from Tunein? Are Sonos now falling into the no longer supported on Tunein category?

I too have had this while listening to 6 music (BBC) today on my Connect via Alexa echo dot using an IFTTT command. Around every hour I receive this same message saying that this stream will no longer work after 22nd March. This has been restricted to a stream via the My Tuner Radio app but I am trying out other streams (e.g. SONOS Radio, Radioplayer) to see if I get the same hourly message with these apps and will report back.

 
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Related to this, some users are reporting that using the initial workaround: “Since this morning, while listening to BBC Rado 2 on Alexa, I’ve been hearing periodic announcements that after 22 March, Radio 2 will cease to work on my smart speaker and I should contact the manufacturer”. 
Anyone else getting this and have any more background rather than the historic removal of bbc radio from Tunein? Are Sonos now falling into the no longer supported on Tunein category?

Thanks for the quick reply. This is the very 1st time I’ve used it, and it looks like I’ve finally worked it out. Phew!

It shouldn’t take this level of coding (even if it is pretty simple) in order to play BBC radio stations through Alexa on a Sonos speaker.

I don’t think it does any more.  I no longer use IFTTT (although there may be pros and cons either way).  My set up is as follows:

  1. For each of my non-voice enabled Sonos speakers, I have an Echo Dot.
  2. In each case, the Sonos speaker and the Echo Dot are in an Alexa Group, with the Sonos speaker designated as the speaker for the group.
  3. I have installed the Sonos skill and the BBC Sounds skill for Alexa.
  4. I say ‘Alexa, play radio 4 from the BBC’, and not ‘Alexa, play BBC radio 4’

(I suspect that the form of words in point 4 makes it use the BBC skill, rather than make a failed attempt to go via TuneIn, but i am not 100% sure of that.)

BBC radio 4 plays on the Sonos speaker in the room, without any room being specified.  (In fact, i don’t think you can specify any other speaker for it to play on.  So there has to be a Dot for every Sonos speaker, which might not suit everyone.)

Userlevel 7
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Many thanks for the guide...frustratingly, I got down to the very last line (6) in the second section on removing ‘trigger’ from the instructions, and the word ‘confirm’ was greyed out...Aaaah! Can anyone tell me what I do to confirm?

 

Jobetim.

Do you have the free IFTTT or the Pro version?  The free one has a limit of 3 Applets now.

Many thanks for the guide...frustratingly, I got down to the very last line (6) in the second section on removing ‘trigger’ from the instructions, and the word ‘confirm’ was greyed out...Aaaah! Can anyone tell me what I do to confirm?

 

Jobetim.

This is amazing. Thank you so much UKMedia. Very clear and extremely useful.

 

Just hoping BBC allow for a smoother wireless experience soon. It shouldn’t take this level of coding (even if it is pretty simple) in order to play BBC radio stations through Alexa on a Sonos speaker.

@Colliwag - I agree - there’s no need to pay IFTTT or even use it.

 

You can now set it up using Alexa Groups and Alexa Routines.  I now say “Alexa choose two” in order for my kitchen sonos pair to play radio 2.

Here’s How:

 

Make sure BBC skill is installed

Create a Group with your Alexa device and sonos pair.  Be sure to set the “playback option” to “always”

Create a routine using a phrase which doesn’t start with a keyword - I use “choose”.  So for me “Alexa, choose two” actually plays “Alexa, ask BBC to play Radio Two”

 

Bingo

Thanks so much, this worked brilliantly.

To note, as I understand it, the problem described here is only a problem if you’re trying to control non voice enabled Sonos speakers (e.g play 5 gen 2 or play 1) so not one, beam etc.

Only problem I can see is that IFTTT have started charging for anymore than 3 applets. Anyone got a work around for this or an alternative to IFTTT? I don’t mind paying a bit but £60 a year for this very first world problem is far too much (for me)!

Userlevel 7
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@UKMedia . I don't think this issue arises at all on voice enabled Sonos speakers. 

You’re correct @John B as always!😁 Just tested and it works fine on my Beam. Sorry for the mis-information @Martin Banham 

@UKMedia . I don't think this issue arises at all on voice enabled Sonos speakers. 

Userlevel 7
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I don't use IFTTT anymore and I don't have any routines for this. I do have the BBC Sounds skill installed on Amazon Alexa.

On my Alexa-enabled Sonos speakers I say, 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 6 Music' and it works.

My non-Alexa-enabled speakers are set up in groups with the Sonos speaker as preferred speaker in each group and a Dot providing voice capability. If I say 'Alexa, play Radio 6 Music from the BBC' the music plays on the Sonos.

Everyone's setup is different,  but this works perfectly for me.

It looks like the trick of adding “…. from the BBC” to the Alexa command to a Dot for asking for a BBC radio station to be played on a Sonos Device in the same room has been disabled - temporarily or permanently. 

If anyone does work out a way to do this again, please post - I don’t want to have to replace my old non-Alexa Connect with the new Alexa enabled version (first world pains I know)

This is caused by the BBC, a new Sonos One will experience the issue.

Userlevel 2
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I don't use IFTTT anymore and I don't have any routines for this. I do have the BBC Sounds skill installed on Amazon Alexa.

On my Alexa-enabled Sonos speakers I say, 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 6 Music' and it works.

My non-Alexa-enabled speakers are set up in groups with the Sonos speaker as preferred speaker in each group and a Dot providing voice capability. If I say 'Alexa, play Radio 6 Music from the BBC' the music plays on the Sonos.

Everyone's setup is different,  but this works perfectly for me.

It looks like the trick of adding “…. from the BBC” to the Alexa command to a Dot for asking for a BBC radio station to be played on a Sonos Device in the same room has been disabled - temporarily or permanently. 

If anyone does work out a way to do this again, please post - I don’t want to have to replace my old non-Alexa Connect with the new Alexa enabled version (first world pains I know)

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

I don't use IFTTT anymore and I don't have any routines for this. I do have the BBC Sounds skill installed on Amazon Alexa.

On my Alexa-enabled Sonos speakers I say, 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 6 Music' and it works.

My non-Alexa-enabled speakers are set up in groups with the Sonos speaker as preferred speaker in each group and a Dot providing voice capability. If I say 'Alexa, play Radio 6 Music from the BBC' the music plays on the Sonos.

Everyone's setup is different,  but this works perfectly for me.

This is an excellent solution and one I shall be using myself as I think IFTTT appears to be moving to some sort of charging structure if you have more than 3 applets with them, so I can at least get rid of the applets I currently use for BBC stations.

I don't use IFTTT anymore and I don't have any routines for this. I do have the BBC Sounds skill installed on Amazon Alexa.

On my Alexa-enabled Sonos speakers I say, 'Alexa, play BBC Radio 6 Music' and it works.

My non-Alexa-enabled speakers are set up in groups with the Sonos speaker as preferred speaker in each group and a Dot providing voice capability. If I say 'Alexa, play Radio 6 Music from the BBC' the music plays on the Sonos.

Everyone's setup is different,  but this works perfectly for me.

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Thank you, UKMedia :wink: .  No joy using trigger though. There is a notable time lag between the alexa routine being invoked and the radio stream starting. Is there a similar lag using IFTTT directly?

Userlevel 7
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Thanks for the replies

The applet requires “play radio 2” but I have just made another with just “radio 2” and the result is the same.

My wording of the “last comment” is a bit ambiguous. Things work the way I would like after I have embedded the IFTTT applet in an alexa routine called “play radio two”. So, I say “Alexa play radio 2” and I get the response “OK” and a second or so later radio 2 starts playing on my sonos speaker. A direct call of the IFTTT applet using the trigger command fails.

As per part two of the steps listed, this is now working as intended. 😁

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Thanks for the replies

The applet requires “play radio 2” but I have just made another with just “radio 2” and the result is the same.

My wording of the “last comment” is a bit ambiguous. Things work the way I would like after I have embedded the IFTTT applet in an alexa routine called “play radio two”. So, I say “Alexa play radio 2” and I get the response “OK” and a second or so later radio 2 starts playing on my sonos speaker. A direct call of the IFTTT applet using the trigger command fails.

Does your applet require the phrase 'play radio 2' or just 'radio 2'?

Your  final comment makes me wonder why you are bothering with IFTTT.

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Update. I have made a routine on my phone that calls the IFTTT applet to play BBC Radio 2 on my Sonos system and that works if I play it from the phone routine list. However, if I say “Alexa trigger play radio two” then I get the “Sorry...” response again. There is something silly missing, but I can’t work out what!

However, if I just say “Alexa play radio 2” it works and I get radio two on my sonos system.

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I don’t have any routines listed in my Android alexa app. Should something I set up on the IFTTT web page appear in toutines?

Userlevel 7
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That's strange 🤔 If you run the routine within the Alexa App/Routines and they press the play icon for the correct routine, does that work?

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Whatever I try, I just get “Sorry, I don’t see that IF(TTT) trigger”. Really frustrating.

This works really well and a welcome solution to my little first world problem of not being able to play 6 music on my Sonos via Alexa. I needn’t send the little speaker back now, thank you OP.

I am trying to play  http://icecast.radiofrance.fr/fip-midfi.mp3

I have mixed success with saying (play) fip as a word but alexa does not seem to understand F I P as separate letters

Thanks

This seems off-topic as this thread is about playing BBC radio stations to cope with BBC dropping TuneIn, while Alexa uses Tunein.

All the same, maybe trying calling it something else when you add it, like ‘My FIP’, or ‘Mabel’ or whatever.  But this will only work if you are using IFTTT, and if you are using ‘Play’ as a command rather than ‘trigger’ then your question has nothing to do with IFTTT either.