Alexa


Alexa-powered smart speakers like the Amazon Echo are a great way for visually-impaired folks to listen to shows, podcasts, radio stations and more by only using the power of their voice. 

Audio Reader now has its own Alexa Skill, allowing you to use your Echo smart speaker to listen to Audio Reader. But you can do a lot more than listen to our live stream, you can also listen to on-demand content and ask questions about our schedule.

Enabling the Audio Reader Skill for Alexa

An Alexa "skill" is like an app, but for the Alexa smart speaker. You can tell your Alexa to enable a skill, and once enabled, your Alexa now has the ability to use that skill.

To enable the Audio Reader skill for your Alexa:

Say, "Alexa, enable the Audio Reader skill."

Now you're ready to begin using our skill.

Using the Audio Reader Skill for Alexa

Like a program on a computer or an app on a smart phone, you need to open it up before you can use it. The same is true for Alexa skills.  open up the Audio Reader skill on your Alexa:

Say, "Alexa, play Audio Reader."

You'll need to give her this command every time you want to listen to Audio Reader. 

Once the skill has started, she will begin by reading a list of available commands you can give her. They are:

  1. "Listen to the live stream"
    • ​​This will play our live stream broadcast through your smart speaker
  2. "Play on-demand" 
    • This will allow you to listen to any show you want, starting from the beginning of the latest recording of the show that is in our Digital Archive
    • You will need to tell Alexa the name of the show you want to listen to
  3. "Tell me what is being read right now on the live stream"
    • ​​You can use this command to find out what show is on right now on the live stream broadcast
  4. "Read the program schedule"
    • She will read the program schedule for the current day of the week
    • You can also ask to get the program schedule for a different day of the week by asking for that day
    • ​​This is a great way to hear what shows are available for listening on-demand

When she prompts for a command, give her one of these four commands. 

For listening to the live stream or on-demand, you will need to confirm that you are blind or print-disabled. When she asks, just say, "Yes."

To stop listening, just say, "Alexa, stop."

Using Shortcuts

After you have learned how to use the Audio Reader Alexa Skill, you may want to use Shortcuts to speed up the process. The following phrases will allow you to skip the introductory dialog and begin playing the content you want. Example phrases are:

"Alexa, launch Audio Reader and listen to the live Stream."
or
"Alexa, launch Audio Reader and play on-demand"

Notice that you need to say "launch Audio Reader" and not "play Audio Reader." This is important if you want the shortcut to work.

Another way to speed up the process is you don't have to listen to whole prompt when she asks if you're visually impaired or print disabled. You can interrupt her by saying "Alexa" and confirm the prompt with "yes." For example:

"Alexa, launch Audio Reader and play the live stream."
Audio Reader's programming is intended...
"Alexa, yes."
Now playing Audio Reader's live stream.

That's all you need to know to use the Audio Reader Skill for Alexa!