voice control finding radio stations

  • 17 November 2023
  • 5 replies

is there any way to specify where SVC will look for stations when the command is “PLAY xxx”?

there are two local radio stations, both in Sonos Radio, both added to my favorites and Sonos favorites.

  1. KBCO
  2. KBCO Studio C

for the life of me I cant get SVC to play the top one. various wording will bring up all kinds of crazy channels from around the world.

my goal is to have SVC cycle through a short list of preferred (sonos) radio channels.



Best answer by Corry P 21 November 2023, 14:42

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5 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi @Dan.Wills 

Welcome to the Sonos Community!

Apologies for the delay.

As Sonos Voice Control works locally on the speaker, it does not have unlimited resources to call upon to figure out what your voice command means, unlike the other Voice Assistants which run on massive server farms. As a consequence of this, we maintain a list of the most popular stations and artists - I think it’s 5000 of each. If your station of choice is not on this list, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to play via voice command.

However, once a station is added to My Sonos, SVC should be looking there to find a result - but it still has to be able to understand you to do so, and it can take up to 24 hours for SVC to “notice” a new entry in My Sonos. As it has been a few days, my guess is that what’s going wrong is that SVC just doesn’t understand “KBCO” for some reason.

I tried finding the station on my own system but could not - probably it’s geo-locked to nearby locations only - so was unable to test myself.

I did find the following in my reference material for SVC commands, however: “Play a radio station by name, callsign, or frequency” - if you can find out the frequency on which KBCO broadcasts, perhaps SVC will understand that better?

If not, I’d recommend also installing Amazon’s Alexa - it can run on the same speaker as SVC, concurrently. Perhaps Alexa will do better at finding your station?

I hope this helps.


thanks Cory.

I'll keep fooling with it. you’re right in that phrasing is important. I’ve figured out wording for most of my stations, this one might be too close to the wording of other stations.

I was also unaware of the time lag - have to control my impatience….

I have a question for Corry P.

Based on what you say, I would you expect to be able use SVC to search BBC Sounds Radio stations stored in My Sonos and play them even though SVC does not natively work with BBC Sounds.

I have included BBC Sounds in ‘My Sonos’ by adding it as a service, and then specifically added one of the stations (BBC Radio 4) as a stored radio station.

However, for some reason the SVC voice command (‘Hey Sonos, play BBC Radio 4) doesn’t play it.

Can you explain why? Thanks

Userlevel 7
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Hi @cavallad 

That was my understanding, but I asked a colleague to test and he was unable to get any BBC stations to play with a Sonos Voice Control command even after removing and adding SVC to force a re-evaluation of the contents of his My Sonos section..

I sought clarification and it seems BBC Sounds is a bit of a different beast - your attempts may have worked back when BBC stations were on TuneIn, but now that they are not, it’s unlikely to work. BBC Sounds is effectively a completely different “service” from other radio stations, preventing success with SVC.

As above, I recommend installing Alexa on the same speaker and adding the BBC Sounds skill to Alexa - that will work, and you just need to address the request to Alexa instead of SVC.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for the clarification. I really want to use SVC rather than allow an Amazon (or Google) microphone into my house. This was a major reason for buying a Sonos One rather than another smart speaker.

I look forward to implementing an updated SVC, either when BBC Sounds is supported by SVC, or when the capability of playing a specific radio station like BBC Radio 4 is included within SVC.

The sooner this arrives the better!