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Amazon Simplifies Alexa Radio Skill Process

Amazon recently announced the availability of the Alexa Radio Skills Kit, or RSK, console for radio providers.

You may recall that in the early days of the smart speaker boom, stations had to rush to learn how to enable listeners to access their stations on Alexa by using their voice.

The aim of the skills kit is to let radio content providers enable that good experience without needing to deal with code or third parties. Providers submit their station data, and Alexa Radio Skills Kit Console handles subsequent steps related to publishing and discovery.

After a station is onboarded, it becomes available after a period of 72 hours on Alexa-enabled devices to customers. Customers then can ask Alexa to play a station by name, alternate name, call sign or frequency, such as The Vibe, Vibe 102.7, KBBQ or 102.7 FM. Listeners won’t need to have a station’s skill enabled to listen.

Customers won’t have to remember to launch a skill. In addition, the kit supports location-based search so that when a customer asks for a station, Alexa automatically considers stations nearby that match their request.

“Alexa maintains all stations onboarded through RSK, thereby providing customers with a consistent and predictable experience,” the company wrote in its announcement.

“RSK enables significant improvements across every facet of the customer experience by supporting features such as multi-room playback, setting alarms and creating routines that include radio station playback.”

We contacted Amazon to ask for more info; a spokesperson answered questions by email.

Q: What is the Radio Skills Kit?

A: Radio Skills Kit is the easiest way radio providers can make their stations available by voice to Alexa customers. It’s a free, no-code solution to create, manage, and stream high-quality radio content through Alexa-enabled devices — without the need to build or manage a separate skill.

Q: Am I correct that it is new or has been recently improved?

A: In April 2023, we announced the Alexa Radio Skills Kit Console, which allows all radio providers using the no-code Radio Skills Kit to manage their stations through a web portal. Stations can quickly onboard and make content available for customers to listen to on the 500 million Alexa-enabled devices out there today.

Q: Why is it better for stations to use the no-code kit than to manage Skills as they have in the past?

A: Radio Skills Kit gives customers the ability to ask Alexa to play a station by name, frequency or call sign, without having to search for and enable a skill.

Q: How can broadcast radio stations take advantage of it?

A: When providers submit their station data, Alexa Radio Skills Kit Console will handle subsequent steps related to publishing and discovery. Providers can use the Console to add new stations, change metadata such as names or logo URLs, and delete stations themselves, without any programming.

Q: Are there costs associated with it?

A: There are no fees associated with Alexa Radio Skills Kit.

Q: How does Alexa streaming handle ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and streaming licensing?

A: Each station is responsible for obtaining licensing, as well as collecting and reporting their own listenership data.

Q: Can stations “geofence” the Alexa audience (if desired)?

A: Providers can specify the country level for no-code Radio Skills Kit.

Q: Outside of the station promoting Alexa to hear their station, what are the financial benefits to the station? 

A: Alexa can help expand a provider’s audience by allowing over half a billion Alexa-enabled device owners to easily discover a station’s name or frequency, simply by using their voice. For more information, providers can visit Amazon Alexa Radio Skills Kit. 

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