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  1. #1

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    Does Alexa change everything?

    Lots of people stream Internet radio through their computer at work. Others stream Internet radio in their car using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But until recently there wasn't a cheap and easy way to stream Internet radio throughout your home. Amazon's Alexa promises to change all that.

    It's estimated that Amazon has sold 31 million Alexa devices as of Dec. 2017, and is on track to sell 50 million Alexa devices by Dec. 2018.

    I played with an Alexa device this week and I was amazed at how easy it is to stream Internet radio to every room with a simple voice command.

    On AM and FM the strong signals of large stations overpower the weak signals of small stations. On Alexa all stations are equal. It's just as easy to say:

    "Alexa: play Radio Paradise,"

    as it is to say:

    "Alexa: play BBC World Service."

    I noticed that Autopo.st is offering an Alexa Skill for Internet radio stations for a reasonable monthly fee:

    https://www.autopo.st/alexa-radio-skill

    Have you tried streaming Internet radio on Alexa?

    Do you think that independent Internet radio stations should have an Alexa skill?
    Last edited by JohnDrake; 05-19-2018 at 10:17 PM.

  2. #2

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    Hello JohnDrake, thank you for linking to our page. We do indeed provide this service. Rather than take the post over with a load of sales related stuff, I'll monitor the thread and answer any questions anyone may have about this service or Alexa in general.

    Thank you.
    autopo.st - Post your Radio Stations 'Now Playing' songs to Twitter, Facebook and TuneIn with images, tag the artist playing and even include 'Buy this Song' links... Power boost your Radio Stations Social Media! We also offer 'Now Playing' and 'Recently Played' website Widgets, Silence Detection for your radio stream and Audio Fingerprinting/Track Detection for your Radio Station. Mobile Phone Apps, Alexa Radio Skills and Cloud Audio Logging. Find out more at https://www.autopo.st

  3. #3

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    I'm trying to figure out the benefit to having an Alexa skill. Consider this example:

    If you DON'T HAVE an Alexa skill and a listener says:

    "Alexa: play MyInternetRadioStation"

    Alexa may say:

    "Sorry, can't find any songs named "MyInternetRadioStation"

    or Alexa may say:

    "Playing "InternetRadio" station from TuneIn"

    which is a DIFFERENT Internet radio station with a name similar to yours.

    In either case the listener won't be able to find your station.

    But if you HAVE an Alexa skill and a listener says:

    "Alexa: play MyInternetRadioStation"

    Alexa will say:

    "Playing MyInternetRadioStation"

    and will then start streaming the correct Internet radio station.

    Is this how it's supposed to work?
    Last edited by JohnDrake; 05-21-2018 at 11:18 PM.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDrake View Post
    Is this how it's supposed to work?
    Hi JohnDrake, yes, that's pretty much it...

    In fairness, if you DO NOT have your own Alexa skill, your station may still be found on TuneIn and therefore the listener might reach your station.

    Listeners still have to 'enable' the skill on their device before it will work. This can be done by a simple 'Alexa, enable MyInternetRadioStation' skill'.

    There are other benefits of having your own Alexa Skill which, depending on your provider, may include :

    - You choose the invocation name (the command for Alexa to play your station, typically 'Alexa, play MyInternetRadioStation', but you can customize it.
    - Easy access to update your internet streams (should you change providers).
    - Ability to configure a main and backup stream. (Amazon may remove skills that do not work correctly).
    - Listener statistics and maps(to see how many people are using your skill and where from).

    Different providers may provide a different set of features.

    Happy to answer any further questions.
    autopo.st - Post your Radio Stations 'Now Playing' songs to Twitter, Facebook and TuneIn with images, tag the artist playing and even include 'Buy this Song' links... Power boost your Radio Stations Social Media! We also offer 'Now Playing' and 'Recently Played' website Widgets, Silence Detection for your radio stream and Audio Fingerprinting/Track Detection for your Radio Station. Mobile Phone Apps, Alexa Radio Skills and Cloud Audio Logging. Find out more at https://www.autopo.st

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the information.

    So the "invocation name" is the keyword that will connect listeners to your radio station. And I assume that every Alexa skill must have a unique invocation name.

    How are these invocation names assigned by Amazon--first come first served?

    As you know, there are many Internet radio stations with similar names. Let's say there are two stations named "MyInternetRadioStation":

    - One in Europe at "MyInternetRadioStation.co.uk"

    - One in America at "MyInternetRadioStation.com"

    The European station then creates an Alexa skill with the invocation name "MyInternetRadioStation."

    When the American station tries to create an Alexa skill with the invocation name "MyInternetRadioStation" they will be told that the name is already in use. The American station will then have to pick another invocation name, such as "MyInternetRadioStation USA."

    Is this how it works?
    Last edited by JohnDrake; 05-22-2018 at 03:02 PM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDrake View Post
    So the "invocation name" is the keyword that will connect listeners to your radio station.
    Not quite. It is the skill name that you must 'enable' on the device. You do this either from the Alexa app/website OR you can enable it directly by asking Alexa to enable it for you. This uses the skill name (not invocation name) which may or may not be different to the invocation name.

    For example, your skill name may be 'MyInternetRadioStation' but its invocation name could be something entirely different (though not recommended as Amazon may reject it if it is too different).

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDrake View Post
    And I assume that every Alexa skill must have a unique invocation name.
    No, you can have the same invocation name, this is because the user must first enable the skill on their device. So if there are two different stations with the same name, it will only play the one that you have first enabled on your device. So in your example...

    - One in Europe at "MyInternetRadioStation.co.uk"
    - One in America at "MyInternetRadioStation.com"

    If you have not enabled either of them on your device, the command 'Alexa, play "MyInternetRadioStation" will 'do its best' to find what you are looking for.

    If you have enabled one of them, it will play the one you have enabled. If you installed the other one (instead, not both) it would play that one. If you enabled both of them, it would struggle to understand what you wanted. You can actually train Alexa from your Alexa app to help it (her?) understand what you wanted if it gets it wrong.

    To add to this, invocation names are different to the skill names (as appear on the Amazon site) and they (Amazon) also allow duplicate names there.

    So, at the moment, duplicate names and invocation names are allowed. There are some interesting debates within the Alexa developer groups about whether or not this should continue...
    Last edited by TwitterAutoPost; 05-23-2018 at 07:56 AM.
    autopo.st - Post your Radio Stations 'Now Playing' songs to Twitter, Facebook and TuneIn with images, tag the artist playing and even include 'Buy this Song' links... Power boost your Radio Stations Social Media! We also offer 'Now Playing' and 'Recently Played' website Widgets, Silence Detection for your radio stream and Audio Fingerprinting/Track Detection for your Radio Station. Mobile Phone Apps, Alexa Radio Skills and Cloud Audio Logging. Find out more at https://www.autopo.st

  7. #7

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    OK, thanks for clearing that up.

    As much as I enjoy listening to Internet radio at home with Alexa I still do most of my listening in the car. In the five months that I've had Internet radio in my car I haven't listened to FM radio even once.

    When Alexa arrives in the car it will truly be an unbeatable combination.

    https://cnet.co/2CTc6GT

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDrake View Post
    In the five months that I've had Internet radio in my car I haven't listened to FM radio even once.
    Definitely agree on that one, I haven't touched the FM on my car for ages, the mobile infrastructure is now so good (even in rural areas) that I listen to low bandwidth AAC+ stations in the car all the time.

    Why be limited to what is on FM when you have the world at your fingertips?!
    autopo.st - Post your Radio Stations 'Now Playing' songs to Twitter, Facebook and TuneIn with images, tag the artist playing and even include 'Buy this Song' links... Power boost your Radio Stations Social Media! We also offer 'Now Playing' and 'Recently Played' website Widgets, Silence Detection for your radio stream and Audio Fingerprinting/Track Detection for your Radio Station. Mobile Phone Apps, Alexa Radio Skills and Cloud Audio Logging. Find out more at https://www.autopo.st

  9. #9
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    I'm not so sure I'd want an Alexa (Amazon echo)

    Alexa recorded a couple's private conversation and sent it to a random contact. Amazon said it's "an extremely rare occurrence." Get this thing out of your home, folks
    https://t.co/0M0SNoucJg

    I don't want technology spying on me in my home...
    Proud USER of RadioDJ Free Radio Playout software since 2010

    Now Running RadioDJ on a 32GB computer.

  10. #10

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    You know that golden rule in radio... 'Always treat every microphone as live'!

    Joking aside (well, it wasn't a joke, but...), it's never good to hear of things going wrong like that. I imagine they said some keywords without realising and that's what happened, like pocket dialling with your mobile phone. My Google Assistant on my Android phone randomly says "I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that" meaning that it was probably listening the whole time...

    I have three Amazon devices sat in front of me at the desk and every now and then the blue lights will start up and I wonder what it's doing. The first word that sounds anything like 'Alexa' and it's like an attention seeking puppy with a ball!

    At least they've stopped her giggling randomly at night!
    autopo.st - Post your Radio Stations 'Now Playing' songs to Twitter, Facebook and TuneIn with images, tag the artist playing and even include 'Buy this Song' links... Power boost your Radio Stations Social Media! We also offer 'Now Playing' and 'Recently Played' website Widgets, Silence Detection for your radio stream and Audio Fingerprinting/Track Detection for your Radio Station. Mobile Phone Apps, Alexa Radio Skills and Cloud Audio Logging. Find out more at https://www.autopo.st

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