Radio 4 voice command stopped working

Userlevel 2

I used to be able to start radio 4 with the voice command "OK Google, play BBC Radio 4" now this just leads to Sonos playing Radio 4 Extra. Has any one else seen this to know how to fix it?

64 replies

Do you currently have the BBC Sounds Skill installed in your Amazon Alexa App - if not, then perhaps install that and try again to see if that fixes it.

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

This is a problem pertaining to the Google Assistant on Sonos. The OP is right; one can no longer play BBC Radio 4 from TuneIn on Sonos, instead the Assistant decides to play BBC Radio 4 Extra. This doesn’t happen with Google’s own devices, only on Sonos. I have also noticed other radio stations no longer working, including LBC London from TuneIn. Why doesn’t Sonos bother implementing BBC Sounds and Global Player into voice commands alongside Apple Music like on Google’s own devices? This would solve all those problems as they wouldn’t end up occurring in the first place. 

Sonos says that the user experience gets better over time thanks to updates, but the only thing I’ve discovered is that the experience just seems to be getting worse.

Oh I see my earlier post was entirely wrong here. I thought the OP was referring to Alexa rather than Google so I’m just writing to apologise for my earlier mistake <sorry>.

I’m not sure if the Tune-In dispute with the BBC is still at the root of this issue, as widely reported online. Obviously with Alexa, the solution is to add/use the BBC Sounds skill instead of using Tune-In, but I guess there’s no way to add the BBC sounds service to Google, or to perhaps use some BBC stations (via Tune-In) outside of Google/Amazon on 3rd party speakers without ‘BBC Sounds’.

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

Unfortunately there isn’t. Thanks anyway for your input though, it’s much appreciated.

Userlevel 1

BBC Radio 4 is still available on Sonos via Sonos Radio on the App.

I too am getting the Google Assistant to give me 4extra when asking for 4.  This has only happened in the last day or so.

I have exactly the same problem. Went to Sonos Customer support on 30 May who tried it and got the same result. They blamed Google and said they would raise it as an issue with them.

So no cure and no immediate prospect of any one either. 

Badge +17

Hey @Tarpey, @JamesDan, @Gribin Isaf@purrlyne and others,


To make sure, I just tested it myself and can reproduce this issue. I’ve flagged it again with our engineers, but we don’t have anything else to share at this time. The workaround at the moment is to start playback through the Sonos app.

We appreciate your patience on this, and I’ll update here again if we have anything to share.

Userlevel 2

I have spent a considerable sum on Google Points to create a Mesh WiFi Network that reaches to the Workshop and shed at the bottom of the garden. I have a 2nd Gen Play 5 in the workshop and a 1st Gen Play 5 in the shed. The whole point of the install is that I can walk down and play the radio - any radio station or music I can stream - without remembering my phone or tablet, just by asking Google. It  was all working fine, shed and workshop players in sync etc until a few days ago...when Radio 4 became Radio 4 Extra, whose catalogue of programs were first made when streaming was playing in the river.

Userlevel 1

Typical with Sonoa, google, amazon and tunein. All blame each other and do nothing about it. I came on here hoping to find a solution, as I’ve often done since buying a Sonos system. Always the same - no answers, although quite often after weeks/months it by some miracle gets fixed! Well at least there is some information here that it works okay on a google device, makes me less sure google are to blame. That said I do think they are to blame, and likely this is simply some kind of database input problem whereby “BBC Radio 4” in assistant is pointing to “BBC Radio 4 Extra”. Simple to fix, but probably needs an internal change request , which in turn probably takes weeks/months to implement, whereby the fix would take seconds… I really do suspect for most of these issues the answer is known, but the culprit(s) won’t own up!

Userlevel 1

I used to be able to play BBC Radio 4 and BBC world Service using voice command (google Assistant) on Sonos Move.

For a few weeks when I say ‘ hey Google, play BBC Radio 4,’ it starts playing BBC radio 4 Extra. 


When I ask it to play BBC World Service it goes silent. On the Sonos app I can see it’s trying to play something on VPR which is not working (there’s no streaming)


This is only happening when using Sonos Move. It’s working without a fault on Google point devices. So it’s *not a Google Assistant* issue.


I presume streaming links from the BBC need updating *somewhere*. If I need to raise this issue with someone else but Sonos, I will but i need to know with whom. I presume someone At the BBC needs to update the links…


This is super-frustrating as the only reason we got Sonos Move is so we can play radio in the bathroom using voice commands.


I get the same issue.  If I disconnect the Sonos speaker then Google works as it should - in this case plays BBC Radio 4. When I re-connect the Sonos speaker it will on play BBC Radio 4 Extra

Userlevel 5
Badge +4

I have the same problem too. 

On the plus side I had BBC radio support from google assistant to Sonos missing for several months last year and it did get resolved in the end. 

Userlevel 1

Hello All!


Just to update you on steps I took since I posted.


I wrote to Sonos, TuneIn radio and BBC Sounds. 

I’ve been in lively email exchange with the first two. 

Because Google Assistant on Sonos uses Tune in radio to play BBC radio stations I went to Tune In Radio to see if there is some kind of mix up on their streaming links database… I’ve responded to numerous questions and sent videos to demonstrate the issue and today they said they’ll send it all to their technical team to look into. 


Sonos also took some time to accept that there is an issue and said that they will forward my report to TuneIn. However, the issue w BBC World Service not playing is I think a problem at the Sonos end because Google Assistant on Sonos sometimes (but not always) tries to play BBC World Service via something called VPR. So I have asked them to look into that. 


No word from the BBC. 


If I get anything useful out of this email exchange, will update here. 

Userlevel 1

Hello All!


Just to update you on steps I took since I posted….

...If I get anything useful out of this email exchange, will update here. 

Wow! Perseverance. Well done.  Great to know someone is continuing to press on this.

Looking forward to your updates.

Userlevel 1


@James L. et al


So, over a month since this was reported and acknowledged…

Must be a tricky one.

I am pretty certain now this is due to Sonos defaulting to using TuneIn to stream BBC programmes. It is TuneIn that wrongly points at BBC 4 Extra, not Sonos or Google Assistant. 
When auto connection between GA and Sonos system gets decoupled, GA resorts to BBC Player and then plays correctly everything. When attempting to play BBC 4 through TuneIn, problems begin. 
This is my umpteenth issue with TuneIn, and the reason why I have removed it literally from all the gadgets I have. But when Sonos, lazily, goes to them, they needlessly introduce problems into an otherwise good system.

So frustrating - same issue here, exactly as described. Watching this thread to see if/when anyone gets more info. Thanks everyone for exploring on our behalf.

Just trying out a new Sonos one. Radio 4 is my most listened to station so this bug is frustrating. Seems like a simple issue with GA and TuneIn integration. I’ll try contact Sonos today.

This is typical of Sonos poor UK consumer support and lack of an effective complaints system. I won't buy more Sonos because of this.

This is getting a bit ridiculous now - how can there always be so many issues with voice activating radio stations. Genuinely no idea why Sonos moved into the smart speaker segment without the support team to make sure the service works? I’ve had a one since it was launched and this issue has to be at least the 5th time activating radio 4 has become impossible for a long period of time.

Sort it out Sonos, people will lose patience if you can’t do the simple things right.

Userlevel 1

Seems to be working for me now...

Userlevel 2

Sorry this is still an issue for me. (14th Aug)

I remember waiting nearly two years for Sonos to add voice integration, guess it's still very much a work in progress. I know there is litigation between Sonos and Google, I wonder if this is hampering the support / service. 

Userlevel 1

Hm.. playing BBC radio 4 EXTRA this morning - don’t know what happened yesterday, if anything.

I’ve also got this issue and I’m following to see the hopefully ‘speedy’ resolution………...

Excited to pay a lot to have a Sonos move and then discovered that it will not play Radio 4 through google assistant. Now, after 3 months it still isn’t fixed??