Okay, I know it probably doesn’t come as any big surprise to most Echo owners that you can listen to local radio stations on the Echo just by saying, “Echo, play [number on the dial] [station name],” but based on what I’m reading online many Echo owners don’t know that this is being accomplished via internet radio and not any kind of tuner built into the Echo device—and it’s an important distinction because as I’ll explain in this post, internet radio is much better to have than a regular radio tuner.
Even among those who know the radio feature is accomplished via integration with iHeartRadio and TuneIn, there’s a common, incorrect assumption that you can only take advantage of the Echo’s radio feature if you have a registered account with one or both of those services. Not so!
While it’s true that iHeartRadio access will require you to set up a free account with iHeartRadio, live streaming radio access via TuneIn is available by default in the Echo with no account sign-up required! And TuneIn live-streams radio stations from all around the world.
Once you understand that, the broader implications become clear:
Hey, I can listen to my favorite station from back home in Chicago/L.A./New York/Sydney/London/Paris/etc. again!
Yup: provided your old favorite offers a live internet stream and hasn’t changed its format since you left, chances are pretty good you can hear it once again on your Echo. Most of the biggies from major cities are there, along with a generous sprinkling of more obscure stations, too. A-Net Radio from Antarctica, anyone?
There are plenty of supported college radio stations too! Seriously, you can even find the station for Bermuda College Radio—live streaming from Bermuda! With the Echo, you can tune in to your alma mater’s station once again, even from the other side of the country or globe.
When you’re ready to live stream your station, just go to your Echo and say:
“[wake word]: Play [number on the dial] [station name] on TuneIn”
Listen To Distant Stations Often? You Might Want To Set Up A Free TuneIn Account
The Echo’s accuracy in voice recognition of station names and numbers outside your immediate area can get tricky, especially with foreign language stations, so those who plan to regularly access faraway stations will make their lives a lot easier by signing up for a free TuneIn account. With an account registered, you can “follow” the stations you’d like to have readily available and that moves them to the top of the Echo’s search results when you ask it play something on TuneIn.
You can register an account from within the free TuneIn mobile app (which also makes your stations quickly accessible from your mobile devices – links in this post are to the Android app in Amazon’s App Store, but the app is available in the iTunes App Store as well) or on the TuneIn site.
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The second generation Echo Dot (UK site visitors, click here) is a great pick for those who want to get started with all the calling and messaging features you get from the Alexa service, but don’t want to invest a lot of money up front. Dot is still the top-selling Alexa device, and many an Alexa device owner’s favorite. So compact, yet it offers the same Alexa features as the full-sized Echo. Pair via Bluetooth to your own speaker for high quality audio. Priced at $49.99 and rated 4.5/5 stars across over 91,600 reviews, available in black or white.
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