Alexa radio skill-s and Alexa podcast skill-s are poised to kickstart the next stage of the radio industry revolution. This poses challenges for traditional methods of listening to radios and podcasts. 39% of smart-speaker owners say that time spent listening to the device is replacing time spent listening to AM/FM.

Among many different reasons why consumers use voice assistants, one of the most preferred activities is listening. 33% percent of users are asking their voice assistant to play a song. In fact, it is now well known that Alexa and podcasts complement each other in a unique way, and listening to radios and podcasts is one of the most popular uses of Alexa. 

How many consumer use voice search?

In this article, we introduce you to what Alexa radio skills and Alexa podcast skills are, the benefits of having one, and how to get started. We will also explain how Ipervox can help build your amazon Alexa radio or podcast skill in five minutes. 

Radio streaming industry and the big world of voice assistants

Nowadays, smartphones have apps and smart speakers have skills. It’s a huge opportunity here for music labels to launch skills for their artists. If more record labels and radios launch their own skills, it will be even easier for fans to listen to audio content. Luckily, voice assistants aren’t only on smart speakers, but users can find them on so many devices that they’ve become ubiquitous. Alexa is on the Echo but also on smartphones and tablets. Apple HomePod has Siri. Google Home has its own Google Assistant. Now you might listen to your favorite radio station or podcasts wherever you like. 

What is an Alexa Skill?

An Alexa skill is a piece of software code that can make Alexa even more useful. These skills, that act like apps, can make life easier and bring you entertainment. Some Alexa skills let you book tickets from Amazon, control your smart home devices, or even set the alarm for you.

Voice assistants may find their place in radio listeners’ habits. Alexis Hue, Founder, and CEO of VOXALYZE, predict that there will be two significant developments in the future. First, Alexa will continue gaining on both mobile devices and in homes. Secondly, interactive voice ads could come to the platform. Both developments will impact skill developers and radio streaming industries alike.

Customer experience has been playing an essential role in radio streaming and the world of voice assistants. Radio dominance is still king in the music industry. It accounts for most of a consumer’s listening time. Spotify claims the second-largest market share in the UK.

But, most listeners haven’t shifted their behavior when listening to the radio or podcasts. With Amazon Alexa radio skills and podcast skills, there is a guaranteed user experience with marketing opportunities for your audio content. 

The radio industry as we knew has changed… forever

With radio going far beyond the stereo, its applications go beyond entertainment and news. Radio is also used to promote local charities, it helps calm families after a rough night, and it informs the busy citizens that do not always have time to watch the news. With digital media being disrupted, will radio still be an important way for people to get access to information? 

Yes! The future of radio stations and podcasts on Alexa is bright.

Radio stations on Alexa have enhanced listener trust and engagement with them. It has kept radio relevant in the millennial world, and now the news reaches well beyond the listeners of traditional AM News stations. Radio stations on Alexa are changing the nature of news consumption. Instead of listening to long-winded updates from one source, audiences can now choose to only hear news that is relevant to them — whether it’s local news or global news.

Why is it important to create an Alexa radio skill? 

What is an Alexa radio skill?
According to Amazon, the Alexa Radio Skill enables the selection and control of audio content streamed through an Alexa-enabled device. Alexa’s radio skill is similar to a radio app. After the skill is created, it can be added to your device by saying, “Alexa, enable the ___ skill,”  or go directly to the Amazon page for more. 

The competition is one step ahead because of the voice industry. Amazon Alexa Skill Integration is becoming a game-changer for the entire audio industry. Alexa can do so much more! It can play music from an array of streaming services or even let users listen to their preferred radio anywhere and anytime. Plus, there are tens of thousands of third-party skills that can make Alexa even more useful. Among the 50 most popular categories according to CNET, Podcasts and Radios are one of the most successful categories mentioned to create an Alexa skill, along with entertainment. 

Big companies are joining the Alexa skills and developing their Alexa radio skills. Did you know that TED Talks is now part of Alexa podcast’s skills? And all you need to do for listening to a TED talk is saying to Alexa: “Alexa, ask TED Talks to find talks about nature” or “Alexa, ask TED Talks to play the latest talk.”

“Why should your radio launch on Alexa?”

An important question that we often hear is, “Why should your audio content launch on Alexa?” As an answer to this question, there are two sides to this debate. Some people think there’s no end date on digital, and while the Amazon Alexa is popular now, it might not be in a couple of years. The other side of the argument is that the world of Alexa skills has dominated the digital assistant market since its release. Throughout this article, we will see some easy methods that would definitely help you become a game-changer in Alexa radio stations.  

Who would benefit from having an Alexa radio skill?

“These next-generation radios are no longer designed just for passive listening—they’re smart, interactive tools that enable us to live our lives in different ways.”Meg Goldthwaite, NPR CMO

Ever wonder how you can control your radio channels through voice commands? Alexa skills for radio make it easy. Now, you can listen to amazon alexa radio stations from home, in the car, or anywhere!

Smart speaker adoption, like Amazon Alexa Echo, has surged in the past year.

According to NPR and Edison Research, the smart speaker market in the U.S. has grown significantly. Smart speaker households now own 2.6 devices on average compared to the number of smart speakers in U.S. households, which is 157 million. Since the outbreak, 36% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners have used their devices for music and entertainment more frequently. What’s more, 52% of 18-34-year-olds have tuned into music more often. So, if you are in the music and entertainment industry, it might be the right time to build your Alexa radio skill. 

The investment in audio search is increasing.

There are 204 million digital audio listeners in the U.S., making it the second-largest digital media activity after the video content. Thus, big companies like Google have decided to increase their audio search investment. 

But what about investment in media channels? According to WARC’s The Marketer’s Toolkit 2021 report, only 16% of advertisers plan to increase their investment in audio over the coming 12 months. But, 38% of these same advertisers expect to grow their podcast advertising budgets. Positivity!

Voice-assisted technology is here to stay.

Following the lead of several NPR and KCUR news outlets, other radios have adopted voice-assisted technology. They are aiming to reach a new on-demand radio audience. These case studies prove that radio companies can benefit from adopting voice-assisted technology. Let’s have a closer look at their success stories, starting with NPR. 

NRP updated the ways of reaching its audience in the middle of the elections! Those who did not listen to the radio were not left out. If you could ask Alexa for an update on election news from the NPR One app, a report would give you the latest details. In the meantime, in 2020, Americans spent just 912 minutes a week listening to online radio stations and other web audio sources. This is the first time that consumption has dropped since 2017. With Amazon Echo and Alexa radio skill, the speakers and AI can virtually replace or augment phones and radios. These products are voice-activated— users can ask them to play a specific radio or give information for the recent news and more. NRP reported an 8% increase in the number of hours people spend listening to digital broadcasts. 

Long-form podcast interviews are something that many bigger media companies have been busy doing. Especially since the new Amazon Echo became available. Listening to the show is great, but what about listening to a smart speaker? Well, that’s another option. Not only that, but KCUR found out that some listeners have been finding that they listen for longer when they use their smart speakers! Unlike traditional radios, alexa radio skills are more like the “engaging, compelling, human-to-human answer” that an actual person would give. It is a huge difference from a machine playing back something recorded for millions of people to hear at the same time. 

Why Is It Important To Create An Alexa Podcast Skill?

What is an Alexa podcast skill?
According to Amazon, the Alexa Podcast Skill enables the selection and control of audio content streamed through an Alexa-enabled device. Alexa’s podcast skill is similar to a music app. After the skill is created, it can be added to your device by saying, “Alexa, enable the ___ skill,”  or go directly to the Amazon page for more. 

One of the biggest reasons why users who do not use smart speakers as a listening experience avoid it, is because most of the time this listening experience offered to them is not good. For example they cannot forward, rewind or jump to a certain episode. This is enough to be a reason not to listen to your podcast if you are featuring it on iTunes or Spotify. 

Creating your own Alexa podcast skill will enable your listeners to listen to your audio content by using some simple voice commands.

Creating an identity

The era of hosting your podcast in a third-party app, such as Spotify and iTunes is ending. Everyone now is seeking to build brand identity and that cannot be done if you ask your audience to download another app and then find out how to listen to your podcast through that app. In the same way, you build your own website for your podcast, you should also start thinking about creating your Alexa podcast skill and podcast on Alexa directly!

Providing convenience

Using a third party decreases the search of your podcast on Alexa. And that would be a waste, considering that the purpose of using voice commands is all about convenience and doing things instantly. Creating an alexa podcast skill will help you with convenience and your audience would listen to your podcast immediately. 

Growing your audience into a loyal one

When creating Alexa podcast skills, brands open up for a new audience, the voice space generation that spends a lot of time on smart speakers and voice assistants. Alexa podcast skills will be available on Alexa, Alexa Store, and Google search, where users can also share their experience of using these skills. 

Having a podcast alexa skill allows you to boost the user experience into a whole new level. Users do not only listen passively to your audio content, but they also can search and play previous episodes. Giving your audience an easier procedure when it comes to listening to your podcast on Alexa, helps them become loyal customers. 

Also, most of the companies helping you build an Alexa podcast skill, including here Ipervox, help you set reminders and notify the audience whenever a new episode from your podcast comes out. 

Voice assistants can be a serious podcast machine

It looks like Alexa is built for podcast lovers and by enabling skill for your podcast, you can turn it into a powerful machine to gain an audience and promote your content. Its benefits start from the enabling process, where the user can have the Alexa skill in just three basic steps:

  1. Go to skills
  2. Search for your podcast skill
  3. Click enable

Using quicklinks, can be easier since the user gets a reminder to download your podcast skill with just a single step whenever they have time. 

Where can you find information about creating an Alexa radio skill or podcast skill?

You can create your Alexa radio skill or Alexa podcast skill in less than 5 minutes nowadays. Amazon Alexa skill kit offers a detailed description of how to start your endeavor into creating an amazon Alexa radio skill. You can stream music by saying, “Alexa, play some jazz.” You can also add and remove your Alexa radio stations or episodes to match your personal taste. You can request a specific genre by saying, “Alexa, play jazz music.” or a specific podcast by saying, “Alexa, ask TED Talks to play the latest talk.” And you can delete and add your amazon Alexa radio stations or podcasts episodes based on your personal taste.

The full guideline for creating an amazon alexa skill as a developer is founded on the Amazon website. The developer needs to go into detail and learn all the necessary details before starting to create the skill. Amazon also gives a list of pre-made skill (template) providers. These companies have created Amazon Alexa Skill templates for you to use. They are free, but if you want a custom Alexa skill, it may be more ideal to hire an agency.

Looking for something easier, straightforward, and free? Ipervox offers a full tutorial on how to build an Alexa radio skill with Ipervox. Users don’t need to have previous coding knowledge and they can start for free. Currently, amazon Alexa radio stations can only be available in English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish. Unfortunately, if your radio is streaming for any other audience, you cannot create your Alexa radio skill for now. 

Radio is making a comeback in the home

After the launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2007, mobile devices quickly replaced radios in the kitchen and living room.

Radios per household

According to a study made by The infinite dial 2020, between 2008 and 2020, the number of radios per household dropped by 50%. The number of homes with zero radios grew by over 8 times to 32%. 

Some critics claim that radio broadcasters were slow to recognise the rise of mobile audio listening. However, things are changing now. Smart speaker and voice assistant initiatives by radio broadcasters show a very different story. There are already some radio options on Amazon Echo through iHeartRadio and TuneIn, which have been working with Amazon to provide access to this new medium. We think that this type of technology will be used more and more, especially since Amazon has been working with several radio broadcasters to facilitate access.

This changed in March 2017 when Federated Media launched its custom Alexa skill that enabled B100 listeners to simply say, “Alexa, open B100” and immediately be greeted by a personal welcome message from whichever on-air personality was taking requests. Listeners could back then enjoy more than just TuneIn’s live stream. They could access six podcasts and five on-demand options by voice. As an added bonus, they’ve also received the added customer service of the Federated team. Radio stations played through amazon Alexa radio skill are in control of their own delivery, allowing them to add their own personality to the content, and have access to all the listeners data as well.

Increase your radio or podcasts audience using this one “futuristic” tech

The response was tremendous. As soon as listeners heard B100 on a smart speaker, they immediately understood the potential amazon Alexa radio skills offered broadcast radio stations in terms of listener growth and engagement.

People are talking to Alexa; but, the smart speaker is not the only one listening. Radio industry leaders are also paying attention to amazon alexa radio stations. They are designing digital plans to make listening to their own streams on voice assistant platforms as easy as possible. Shifts in consumer spending habits are creating a sense of urgency among radio owners to enhance audience outreach. Almost 10% of smart speaker owners say that they listen to the radio more often since owning a device.

Larry Linietsky is a senior VP of operations and business development for Cumulus Digital. He said the radio broadcaster has made radio stations on alexa for 367 of its 428 stations, as well as Google actions for 17 of its largest podcasts. 

Most successful Alexa radio skills

Nowadays, it’s common for people to listen to the radio for the weather, sports, news, and special programs. What if you’re not near your radio? Maybe you no longer have a radio at home. That’s okay! Amazon Alexa is now compatible with radio. If a skill has already been developed for the radio, Amazon Alexa can play it. Let’s mention here some successful and active Alexa radio skill. 

  1. Radio Mystery Theater

Radio Mystery Theater has 248 reviews in total and an overall score of 4.1. They are available on Alexa and you can access their skill by saying “Alexa, Open Radio Mystery Theater”, “Alexa, next”, “Alexa, Previous”. 

“Radio Mystery Theater” Alexa radio skill
  1. All India Radio

All India Radio has 404 reviews in total and an overall score of 4.2. They are available on Alexa and you can access their skill by saying “Alexa, open all India Radio”, “Alexa, Alexa, ask All India Radio to play Vividh Bharati”, “Alexa, ask All India Radio for a new station”. 

“All India Radio” Alexa radio skill
  1. K-LOVE Radio

K-LOVE Radio has 225 reviews in total and an overall score of 4.7. They are available on Alexa and you can access their skill by saying “Alexa, play K LOVE”, “Alexa, ask K LOVE what’s playing”, “Alexa, ask K LOVE to play Christmas music”. 

“K-LOVE Radio” Alexa radio skill

Users can search for Alexa radio skills on Alexa skills -> Music & Audio -> Streaming Services/Podcasts. Amazon displays a list of Alexa radio skills created, their rates, if they are free to enable or not, and a short description. 

Most successful Alexa Podcast Skills

People like to spend their free time-consuming audio content, it’s easier, faster and you can do other things while listening. In this category of audio content consumption is also a podcast. But what if the channels you are using to showcase your podcast cannot be accessed while the user performs certain activities, such as driving the car? Or maybe through TuneIn or Spotify, they listen to a similar podcaster that is not you. That’s okay! Amazon Alexa is now compatible with podcasts. If a skill has already been developed for the podcast, Amazon Alexa can play it. Let’s mention here some successful and active Alexa podcast skills. 

TED Talks has 1271 reviews in total and an overall score of 4. They are available on Alexa and you can access their skill by saying “Alexa, ask TED Talks to play the latest talk”, “Alexa, ask TED Talks for something funny”, “Alexa, ask TED Talks to find talks about nature”.

Ted Talks Alexa Skill

Hardcore History has 111 reviews in total and an overall score of 4. They are available on Alexa and you can access their skill by saying “Alexa, play Hardcore History”, “Alexa, open Hardcore History”, “Alexa, start Hardcore History”.

Hardcore History Alexa Skill

Apple Podcasts has 1347 reviews in total and an overall score of 2.2. They are available on Alexa and you can access their skill by saying “Alexa, play Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend on Apple Podcasts”, “Alexa, play The Daily from yesterday on Apple Podcasts”, “Alexa, resume Business Wars on Apple Podcasts”. 

Apple Podcast Alexa Skill

How can you build Alexa radio or podcast skill? [Using Ipervox]

Ipervox offers the possibility to build free Alexa radio skills in less than five minutes. All you will need to do is to choose the URL of a radio streaming and paste it into the Ipervox web-based application as shown in the extended tutorial here

Your skill will be validated by Amazon, and only after their review, it will be available for the audience. A list of short tips would never harm anyone, so read them through before deciding to build your alexa radio skill with Ipervox. 

  • Make sure to use the same language on the content as per your amazon account. 
  • Common voice name needs to be at least two words. Skill names are getting crowded on a daily basis, that is why it deserves well thinking before proceeding. Ipervox will help you with that, by popping up a window if a rule is not respected. 
  • You will need an Amazon developer account to test and publish your skill. Connect it with ipervox.com to create your skill. 
  • Your skill will start building as you speak, so please do not close the window

Why should you choose to login into this future with Ipervox? 

Ipervox allows businesses to create “the Alexa radio skill of the future” with a voice app. This easy-to-use tool streamlines a lot of the work and time required to create such an app from scratch. By creating an Alexa radio skill, radio broadcasters can be one step ahead of technology and reach a wider audience.

By using Ipervox free plan radio broadcasters can create for free their custom Alexa radio skill, no credit card required. Users can import the link of their radio while creating the skill due to our XML RSS import. By linking their amazon developer account they can publish their created skill  on Alexa without any extra effort. This skill can be accessed for free by up to 2000 users. This plan is the best suit for individuals and companies that start with voice technology. 

The advantage against TuneIn or Spotify

Creating an Alexa radio skill with Ipervox has many advantages when compared to TuneIn, Spotify, or other intermediate platforms. How? 

According to James Cridland, TuneIn appears not to care about radio. It carries outdated and wrong information about stations, which is disappointing considering how many stations rely on them. Unfortunately, radios on TuneIn and podcasts on Spotify are put there, without any extra effort. Thus when users need to say “Alexa open radio [name] on TuneIn”, and it is not up to radios to answer their own users’ requests. TuneIn is giving the answer to them, by using their own radio system. It gets even more complicated when radios have similarities in their names. Or when the name of the radio is difficult to pronounce. Providers like TuneIn or Spotify are not able to customise your radio name for Alexa skill. 

Users or radios do not have autonomy on these platforms. With Ipervox they can create their own version of their radio by creating an Alexa radio skill and in this scenario, Alexa is the one answering the users for their request. Additionally, they can see their Alexa skill analytics and also find out the areas for improvement. 

Data shows you how many people are listening to your podcast or radio on the Alexa Channel, how many of these users are repeated listeners and what is their feedback on your alexa skill.

An Alexa radio skill can even send a notification if there is any news radio broadcasting need to share with their users. Radio streaming with alexa gives the opportunity to bring back the shared listening behavior into the home, something radio has always been good atunication with the audience is easier, by allowing radios and podcasters to check the answers the skill gives to their us. Reach a new audience today! By creating an alexa radio skill or an alexa podcast skill you can reach thousands of people who don’t listen to your content yet. 

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