Due to changes brought about by the BBC, your experience in listening to live radio via your Sonos system may be affected. In August, the BBC issued a public statement regarding the removal of BBC Live radio streams via TuneIn.
An excerpt from the statement:
“A number of older audio devices that offer an internet radio service powered by TuneIn will not currently be affected by this change – as it’s neither technically or economically practicable to deploy these data-driven features. We will also continue to provide BBC live radio steams via TuneIn on Sonos speakers – while we explore alternative options for enabling the playback of BBC radio on these devices in a way that ensures you get maximum value from your licence fee.“
TuneIn have started to implement the changes imposed by the BBC. Whilst these live stations have been removed from TuneIn’s website, they have not removed them from Sonos and also do not have any plans to do so. You are still able to play BBC Radio stations via TuneIn on Sonos. That is to say, if you go to TuneIn in the Sonos app, you can play without issue.
If you are attempting to initiate playback from one room to another room via Alexa, this will not work. This is because BBC Live Radio stations are no longer available via TuneIn on Alexa. You can work around this Alexa targeting issue by Grouping in the Sonos app, i.e. grouping the desired speaker with the Sonos voice enabled speaker.
Where you may have had a Sonos One in your kitchen and a PLAY:5 in your living room, you were previously able to say, “Alexa, play BBC Radio One in the living room.”
Now, you would have to go about this as follows:
1) Group the living room device to the kitchen in your controller app.
2) Issue the voice command, “Alexa, play BBC Radio One.”
Please note that the above workaround will not work for Amazon Voice enabled Devices (Echo Dot etc.). Amazon First party devices are no longer able to target BBC radio Playback to other Rooms/speakers, irrespective of whether they are Amazon Speakers or Sonos Speakers. Alexa Groups will also not workaround this issue.
Why is there a difference between playing via Alexa on a voice enabled speaker vs. sending it to another speaker? We have been running multiple tests, our assessment thus far as follows:
The BBC live stations were accessible through TuneIn which is a service (and as such, supports multiroom). However, now BBC radio playback via Alexa is skill-based: Skills cannot perform multi-room commands in the same way that a service can.
In our tests, Google Assistant appears to be unaffected. You are still able to command BBC radio playback via Google Assistant on Sonos and on Google Devices. These can successfully target playback to other rooms, from both Sonos and Google Voice enabled devices.
We will, of course, keep you updated with any further information.