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Delivering Local News And More On Alexa


Today, we're happy to announce another step forward in our strategy to deliver the best nationally and locally produced public radio content on smart speakers.

When the first Amazon Echo hit the market in 2014, users who asked Alexa to "play the news" would hear the most recent NPR hourly newscast. Starting today, thanks to a new partnership between NPR and Amazon, new Alexa owners have the opportunity to hear not only the hourly newscast but, immediately after it, a continuous listening experience that delivers a stream of the best and most up-to-date national and local content from Member stations and NPR powered by the NPR One systems and editorial workflows.

Now, new users who have not had an Alexa account previously will simply have to say, "Alexa, play the news." Alexa will then ask the users to select a source. If the user replies, "NPR," Alexa will ask for a zip code and confirm a local Member station, which will then be linked to a flow of news.

Built by NPR, the new long-form news experience is expected to slowly roll out to 100% of Alexa devices by Monday, April 15. Existing Alexa account holders will also be able to access the new experience, though the utterance they use will need to be a little more specific: "Alexa, play news from NPR."

The new continuous stream is the latest in a growing list of voice skills and actions built by NPR. The others include:

Public Radio Streaming Action on Google Assistant

Public Radio Streaming Skill on Alexa

Flash Briefing Visual newscast on Alexa

Visual and Audio Newscast on Google Assistant

NPR One Skill on Alexa

Wait Wait Quiz on both Alexa and Google Home

More than 53 Million Americans 18 and older now own a smart speaker, and more than half of them own at least two (NPR & Edison research 2019). NPR is committed to continuing to serve our audience and meet listeners where they are, providing the best mix of local and national news in these new platforms.

To get started, just say, "Alexa, play news from NPR!"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Thomas Hjelm is Chief Digital Officer of NPR. Overseeing NPR's digital product, design and technology groups, business development, strategy and partnerships, and research, archives and data, he leads organizational strategies for innovation and growth across new and evolving platforms. He also works closely with partners across the public radio system to develop and execute strategies for network collaboration, as well as with major distribution platforms to ensure that public radio is front and center on smart speakers, connected cars and other new channels.
For more than 25 years Joel Sucherman (he/him) has been helping to usher in the new ways we experience news and information. As NPR's Vice President for New Platform Partnerships, Sucherman guides strategy and leads the teams that build NPR's presence on voice assistants, connected cars, TVs and other emerging platforms. During his tenure he has developed a growing number of strategic partnerships and has shaped and implemented public radio's growing presence on voice-activated platforms such as Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby, and Cortana. Under Sucherman's leadership, NPR has become a preeminent brand on smart speakers, with millions of listeners each month. In his previous role as head of product, Sucherman's teams were also responsible for conceiving of, and building, NPR One, a platform that uses a combination of human curation and algorithms to provide a personalized radio news/podcast experience.
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