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(11 Fixes) Alexa Won’t Play Radio [Updated 2022 Guide]

Alexa Won't Play Radio

Did your Alexa stop playing the radio all of a sudden?

Or do you keep having this problem over and over again? 

If you’re experiencing any of these, you’ve come to the right place.

So what are the reasons behind this behavior?

And what can you do to solve it?

Keep reading to find out:

  • The real reasons why Alexa won’t play radio.
  • 11 quick and easy fixes for each of the causes.
  • Steps on how to enable a new skill using your Alexa app.
  • The list of commands that you can use to make Alexa play the radio. 
  • And so much more…

Why won’t my Alexa play radio?

Your Alexa won’t play the radio because of an incorrect setting. The skill may not be enabled yet or the wrong language was set. You might also have a poor connection, an outdated device, or closed firewall ports. This can be due to a wrong command too. As well as an issue with recognizing your voice.

But in some cases, this could also be due to an error on your Alexa device. 


Alexa won’t play radio: 11 ways to fix it


#1: Activate Alexa’s radio skill

There are many possible reasons for this issue.

So, let’s start with the most common causes and easiest fixes.

If you haven’t streamed a radio before through your Alexa, it could be that the skill for it isn’t enabled yet.

“What skill?” you might ask.

Alexa is capable of doing many things. Like telling you the current weather forecast and cracking some jokes.

However, these are only a few of what it can offer. And you may add more to these by putting in new skills.

Then you could also enable or disable them if you want to.

How to enable an Alexa skill

  1. Launch the Alexa app on your phone (or any device).
  2. Tap the icon you’ll see on the upper left corner of your screen.
  3. Find and select “Skills and Games.”
  4. Go to “Categories.”
  5. Select “Featured Categories.”
  6. Search for and tap “Music and Audio.”
  7. Type the word “Radio” on the search engine.
  8. Look for the skill or radio app that you want to activate.
  9. Tap your desired app and click “Enable to Use.”

Note: Your radio application may also ask you to log in to your account after doing this.

To check if it’s working, click the middle button (Alexa icon) at the bottom of your screen. 

Then ask Alexa to play the radio by saying “Alexa, play (name of the radio station).”

#2: Give the right voice command

Have you already enabled the skill…

But still, Alexa won’t play the radio?

If so, you might be saying an invalid command. And this is why your Alexa device is confused.

If this is the case, the fix will be easy peasy.

To make sure that Alexa understands you, use the following commands:

  • “Alexa, play (insert radio station name here).”
  • “Alexa, open the (insert radio station name here).”
  • “Alexa, ask the (insert radio station name here) to play…”

Note: Also, double-check if you’re saying the right station call sign. 

#3: Ensure that Alexa can hear you clearly

Does this only happen once in a while?

Say, Alexa had no problem playing the radio station earlier. 

But now, the command doesn’t seem to work?

Before you check your connection, make sure first that Alexa can understand you well.

This is likely the cause if this also happens in other skills or apps.

“What do you mean?”

For example, if you’re in an open area, the device may find it hard to detect your voice. As well as if there’s noisy equipment around.

So, try saying the command again close or in a quieter place. Then see if it plays the radio or not.

Aside from this, you can also make sure that Alexa hears and knows your voice.

How?

Do these steps:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your device.
  2. Click the sidebar menu button on the upper left.
  3. Select “Settings.”
  4. Choose “Alexa Account.”
  5. Tap the “Recognized Voices” option.
  6. Click the toggle switch beside the “Automatically Recognize Voices.”
  7. Select “Your Voice” and click “Begin/Learn my voice.”
  8. Do the instructions on your screen.
  9. Click “Back” once done.

By doing this, your Alexa device will recognize you whenever you talk to it. And it’ll even play your fave station or songs.

Note: If you want to redo the voice recognition, tap “Delete my voice.” Then repeat steps #7 and #8.

#4: Set the correct language

If you have a problem playing a foreign station on Alexa (e.g., BBC radio), this might be fixed by changing your language.

“Why’s that?”

The BBC, for example, offers radio services all over the world.

However, they may also restrict some content based on your location.

So, for you to access and play it on Alexa, try adjusting your language.

How to fix it

  1. Launch the Alexa app.
  2. Navigate to “Settings” then click “Device Settings.”
  3. Choose your Amazon Alexa device.
  4. Tap “Language” and set it to your desired language (e.g., UK English).

If this doesn’t solve your problem…

#5: Check your WiFi connection

Check Your WiFi Connection

Can’t your Alexa device play the radio all of a sudden?

If yes, then you might need to check your network. 

Especially if you’re certain that you’re saying the right command. And also if you know that Alexa can hear you well.

What to do?

Try connecting other devices to your Wi-Fi. Then see if they’re working properly.

If not, consider some troubleshooting tips below to fix your connection:

Tip 1: Place your router in a higher spot. 

Do this for better coverage since signals tend to flow downwards.

Tip 2: Move it to an open area. 

It must not be obstructed or inside a cabinet. And also, it should also be in the middle part of your house/room for better distribution.

Tip 3: Ensure that it’s linked to the 5GHz Wi-Fi.

Modern routers offer 2 networks – 2.5GHz and 5GHz. The latter provides faster internet – but it only works well within short distances.

Tip 4: Put your router away from other wireless devices. 

There could also be a signal interruption. So make sure that your Wi-Fi router isn’t near microwave ovens or baby monitors.

Tip 5: Reduce the devices connected to your home network. 

How many are currently linked to your Wi-Fi? If there are many, try disconnecting some of them in the meantime. Then see if there are any improvements.

#6: Open certain firewall ports

I’m sure you’ve heard of firewalls.

As their name implies, they’re like a gate that blocks ‘potentially’ harmful stuff. And your Wi-Fi network also has this.

Its job is to control the programs that can access your network. As well as the ones that you could open.

So if your Alexa device can’t play a radio station or songs, there might be an issue with your firewall.

Don’t worry. This isn’t a complicated problem.

You should only open a certain set of ports to allow Alexa to play a bigger range of stations.

How?

Step 1: Check whether your router has a firewall or not.

  1. Using any device, launch a web browser.
  2. Go to your router’s admin console by typing its IP address.

Note: Most routers have this IP address: 192.168.1.254. Such as Linksys routers, Thomson, Netopia, Plusnet, AT&T, and Billion. 

  1. Enter the username and password.

Note: Usually, the default for these are ‘admin’ and ‘user’ respectively. So try these if you haven’t changed the settings of your router yet.

  1. Login to the account. Then check if there’s a network firewall.

Step 2: If you see one, open the firewall ports below:

  • 123
  • 443
  • 4070
  • 5353
  • 33434
  • 40317
  • 49317

#7: Download a certain app

If you’re wondering why Alexa doesn’t play BBC radio (or other stations) anymore…

You’re one of the many people who have the same question.

Recently, there’s been an issue with Alexa not being able to detect stations like BBC radio. And they released a statement about this.

So if you have the same problem, you can try this solution:

  1. Install an alternative app for the radio station. Say, BBC Sounds for BBC radio.
  2. Enable the skill. Do the steps in tip #1.
  3. Ask Alexa to play the newly-downloaded app instead.
  4. Specify the station name as well. For example, say “Alexa, ask BBC Sounds to play Radio 2.”

#8: Disable and enable the radio skill

If your connection and settings are all fine…

The cause of the problem might be in the skill itself.

“How to know if my Alexa skill is malfunctioning?”

To determine if it’s working properly or not, try shifting to another skill.

For example, from myTuner Radio, enable My Radio next. 

Then see if both stations can be played by Alexa.

If only one of them works, then you may have a problem with the skill.

How to fix it

Amazon shares some troubleshooting tips:

  • Disable then enable the radio skill that’s not working.
  • Check if you allowed Alexa to access the radio app.
  • Make sure that your Alexa device is signed in on the right account.

Note: If you’re still having a problem, you may send a report to Amazon about this issue. To do this:

  1. On your Alexa app, open the sidebar menu on the upper left. 
  2. Click “Skills & Games” and tap “Skills.” 
  3. Pick the skill or radio app that’s not working. 
  4. Cycle down to look for the “Help” section.
  5. Tap “Having Trouble with This Skill?”
  6. Fill up all the info asked.
  7. Click “Submit Help Request.”

#9: Troubleshoot your Alexa device

If none of the skills is working, there might also be a problem with the device you’re using.

For this, check out some of these tips below to (hopefully) solve the issue.

First…

Check your device’s connection

This applies to both the internet and its power source.

Make sure that there’s no loose cable. Then disconnect and reconnect the device to your network.

This is to clear any errors that it may have.

Look at the password you input

Sometimes, you may also input the wrong password on your device. 

And this could be the reason why it doesn’t connect to the Wi-Fi.

So, look at your device’s network settings. If it isn’t connected, try retyping the password.

Do it carefully to avoid any mistakes. Then see if the device is now connected to your WiFi or not.

#10: Update your Alexa device

When’s the last time you updated your device?

If it’s already been so long, you may only have an outdated Echo.

Updates are made to enhance the performance of any device and program.

Plus, these also give them new features.

This is to make sure that they would still be able to open and access certain applications. Especially if there are new options introduced.

So, if your Alexa can’t play the radio all of a sudden…

You might simply need to update your device.

How to update your Alexa device

First, verify if you have outdated software or not.

To do this, follow these easy steps:

  1. Launch the Alexa app.
  2. Tap “Device.”
  3. Select “Echo and Alexa.”
  4. Click the device that you’re using. (Or the one you’re having a problem with.)
  5. Go to the “About” menu.
  6. Check the software version of your Alexa device.

How was it?

If it says that your device needs to be updated, proceed to the following steps:

  1. On your Alexa app, navigate to “Settings.”
  2. Click “Device Options.”
  3. Select “Software Updates.”

Wait until the update is finished. Then ask Alexa to play the radio once again.

But if none of the tips above work…

The solution you’re looking for might be this last fix.

#11: Power cycle your Alexa device

Have you tried everything but nothing solved your radio issue?

If this is the case, try this last simple fix.

“What’s a power cycle?”

This may sound complicated. But it’s only another term for restart.

Over time, devices can accumulate errors. Then these will cause them to not function well.

And when I say devices, your Alexa Echo isn’t an exception to these.

But trust me, if this is the cause of your problem…

Stop pulling your hair out.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Turn your Alexa device off.
  2. Wait for around 20 seconds.
  3. Turn your device again.

If it’s plugged, remove its cord from the power outlet. Then again, wait for at least 20 seconds before you plug it back in.

After this trick, let Alexa reboot for a bit. 

Make sure that all the settings I mentioned above are selected on your device. Then try asking Alexa to play a radio station.

This may be a simple fix. But oftentimes, this might be the only thing that your device needs to work properly.

So try it and see it for yourself. 🙂