Alexa Podcasts – A Step by Step Listeners Guide

We explore the different podcast services | How to set up Alexa podcasts | Best Alexa Podcasts | Podcast skills & more...
Creating podcast for alexa
Published: 6th Jun 2020
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By Rohan Tandon

Rohan is a passionate tech journalist with a degree in English literature. He's worked as a commissi Read More..

Podcasts are some of the most convenient means of seeking entertainment, news, and information.

Unlike visual mediums and articles, podcasts don’t take up all of your attention. You can listen to podcasts while cooking, or riding the subway, or while driving. As such, podcasts are the perfect tools for a modern lifestyle driven by one’s ability to multitask.

Alexa is yet another tool that’s quickly established itself as a mainstay of a modern lifestyle. Amazon’s Alexa allows you to communicate with all of your household smart devices using your voice. You can ask Alexa to play music, movies, podcasts, and control your devices.

As such, the pairing of Alexa and podcasts seems inevitable.

Alexa and podcasts complement each other beautifully, providing a convenient listening experience. And as such, listening to podcasts and music is one of Alexa’s most popular uses.

However, people often get confused when navigating the world of Alexa podcasts and all of their related skills like Spotify, Apple Podcast, Pocket Cast, Stitcher, etc.

In this article, we give you a comprehensive guide to all things Alexa podcasts.

 

Introduction to Alexa Podcasts

We’ll start this Alexa podcasts guide with a brief introduction to some of the most basic questions about Alexa podcasts. If you want to figure out how to listen to Alexa podcasts using different services, please skip to the next section of the article.

 

What are Alexa podcasts?

Alexa podcast refers to the podcasts available in Alexa’s native podcast service — TuneIn. When you ask Alexa to play a specific podcast, it will pull findings from TuneIn, unless you manually set another podcast service as the default ‘skill.’

 

Can Alexa play podcasts from different services?

Yes, in addition to Alexa’s native podcast TuneIn, Alexa can also play podcasts from other services, like Apple Podcast, Spotify, AnyPod, Stitcher, PocketCasts, and Downcast. You’ll have to add these other services as a ‘skill’ in the Alexa app to get podcasts from them. If you want, you can also set some of these podcasts as the ‘default’ podcast. We’ll discuss how you can achieve that later in this article.

 

Which countries do Alexa podcasts work in?

Alexa podcast TuneIn is available in all countries that support Alexa in general. However, the availability of different podcast skills for Alexa varies based on the service. For example, Alexa podcasts for Apple podcast is only available in the United States. Please check to see if your desired podcast skill is available in your location.

 

Which echoes/devices can you listen to Alexa podcasts in?

You can listen to Alexa podcasts in all Alexa-enabled speakers. Some of the best Alexa-enabled speakers with podcast-compatibility are Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon Echo Plus, and Ultimate Ears Megablast.

 

Alexa Podcasts TuneIn

As mentioned previously, TuneIn is the native Alexa podcast service.

As the default Alexa podcast service, TuneIn is the simplest podcast service to access using Alexa devices. You also get a wide list of Alexa podcasts through TuneIn.

Please continue reading for an overview of how to set up Alexa podcasts through the Alexa app or voice commands.

 

How to Setup Alexa Podcasts (Step-by-Step Guide)?

Women recording podcast

Method 1: Alexa Podcasts TuneIn from the Alexa App

  • Open the Alexa app on your smartphone or go to the Alexa website.
  • Go to the main menu.
  • Navigate to Music, Video, & Books > Music > TuneIn.
  • Select Podcasts to browse through the available podcasts or search for a specific podcast by entering it on the search bar.
  • If you’ve selected Podcasts, go through the categories and list of Alexa podcasts to find one you want to explore.
  • At the top of the screen, just under TuneIn, you can select the desired speaker or speakers.
  • Tap the podcast’s icon to start playing it.
  • Use the onscreen icons to navigate the podcast.

Method 2: Alexa Podcasts TuneIn with Voice

The best part about using Alexa’s native podcast TuneIn is that you don’t need to set it up for voice commands.

You can simply say, “Alexa, play the podcast [name of podcast]” or “Alexa, play a podcast,” and it will start playing either a specific podcast or a random podcast. You can also change podcasts or go through episodes using voice commands, but you can’t ask Alexa to play specific episodes.

As such, if you’re using voice commands, there’s no need to set up Alexa podcasts. You only need to know the right Alexa podcast commands.

Essential Alexa Podcast Commands:

  • Alexa, play [name of podcast].
  • Alexa, play a podcast.
  • Alexa, play the best podcast.
  • Alexa, set volume to [level].
  • Alexa, decrease/increase the volume by [x%].
  • Alexa, turn this off in [minutes].
  • Alexa, play the next/previous episode.
  • Alexa, pause.

 

Alexa Podcast Skills

‘Skills’ refers to third-party applications that have Alexa compatibility. While listening to Alexa podcasts in TuneIn is easy, you may have other reasons to seek out other Alexa podcast skills.

Perhaps you’re dedicated to another podcast service. Perhaps you already have a subscription to another podcast service. Or maybe there’s a particular podcast in another service that isn’t available in TuneIn. If you want to access third-party podcasts in Alexa, you’ll need to set up Alexa podcast skills.

In this section of the article, we’ll discuss how to set up Alexa podcast skills and Alexa podcast commands for different skills.

 

How to Setup Alexa Podcast Skills (Step-by-Step Guide)?

Method 1: Enable Alexa Podcast Skills from the Alexa App

  • Open the Alexa app on your smartphone or go to the Alexa website.
  • Go to the main menu > Skills.
  • Enter the name of the podcast in the search bar.
  • You’ll get a list of all the skills that match your search results.
  • Select the podcast skill you’re looking for, be it Stitcher, AnyPod, or any other.
  • Tap Enable Skill.

Method 2: Enable Alexa Podcast Skills with Voice

  • Say, “Alexa enable [podcast skill name].”

 

How to Set a Preferred Music or Podcast Service?

By default, generic music and podcast commands go to native Alexa services like Amazon Music or TuneIn. However, you can manually set other podcast services or skills as the default.

  • Open the Alexa app on your smartphone or go to the Alexa website.
  • Navigate to Settings > Music & Podcasts > Default Services.
  • Under the Podcasts section, tap on Change.
  • You’ll get a list of your available Alexa podcasts skills.
  • Select the podcast skill that you want to set as your preferred service.

 

What are the Best Alexa Podcast Skills?

Alexa Podcast Skills

#1. AnyPod

AnyPod is currently one of the most popular and reliable Alexa podcast skills.

It offers all of the features available in Alexa podcast TuneIn. But in addition to those default features, AnyPod also allows you to play specific episodes of podcasts, jump to a specific time frame in the episode, and manage your subscriptions.

The biggest issue, however, is that AnyPod doesn’t have a visual interface, either a web browser, smartphone app, or software. As such, you have to control everything using voice commands.

Alexa Podcast Commands for AnyPod:

  • Alexa, ask AnyPod to play [podcast name].
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod to play [episode number] of [podcast name].
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod to fast-forward/rewind [minutes/seconds].
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod to play the next/previous episode.
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod to play the latest/oldest episode.
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod to subscribe/unsubscribe to/from [podcast name].
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod to pause podcast.
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod to restart.
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod for the play position.
  • Alexa, ask AnyPod what are my subscriptions?

#2. Stitcher

Stitcher is yet another popular Alexa podcast skill with a wide range of Alexa podcast commands. Stitcher has a web interface and app, which means you can scroll through podcast playlists using a visual interface. Stitcher also maintains current listening points, which means you can resume from the same position you left before.

Alexa Podcast Commands for Stitcher:

  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play [podcast name].
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play the latest/oldest episode of [podcast name].
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play my favorites.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play saved episodes.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play [user’s] playlist.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to fast-forward/rewind [minutes/seconds].
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play the next/previous episode.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to pause podcast.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to restart.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to resume.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to pick up where I left off.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play [podcast name] from [date].
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play [podcast name] from today/yesterday.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher for help.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher what is this episode/show/season?
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play a top show.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to play politics.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to save/remove/favorite episode.
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to create playlist [name of playlist].
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to add to playlist [name of playlist].
  • Alexa, ask Stitcher to remove from playlist [name of playlist].

#3. Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts is one of the most versatile podcast services available on Alexa. Pocket Casts makes subscribing to shows and navigating between episodes a breeze. It’s also one of the most aesthetically beautiful podcasts because it has an intuitive design that keeps changing the interface color palette based on the podcast’s design. In terms of features, it offers a dazzling variety of features for playlist filters, preferences, speed and volume normalization, etc.

Alexa Podcast Commands for Pocket Casts:

  • Alexa, open Pocket Casts.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to play my Up Next.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to resume the last podcast.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to play the latest episode of [podcast name].
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to play [podcast name].
  • Alexa, ask Pocket Casts whats playing.
  • Alexa, ask Pocket Casts whats up next.
  • Alexa, ask Pocket Casts about the featured podcast.
  • Alexa, ask Pocket Casts for some recommendations.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to surprise me.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to pause.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to resume.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to stop.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to play.
  • Alexa, tell Pocket Casts to play next/previous episode.

#4. Spotify

Spotify is widely known as one of the world’s leading music streaming services. However, Spotify also has an impressive collection of podcasts. If you don’t like flipping between different apps and skills for music and podcasts, you can use Spotify as a single streamlined service for music and podcasts. However, Spotify’s Alexa skill for podcasts is currently limited to some of the most basic and essential commands. As of now, the Spotify Podcast skill on Alexa is currently only available for the US.

Alexa Podcast Commands for Spotify:

  • Alexa, play [podcast name] on Spotify.
  • Alexa, what's playing?
  • Alexa, play.
  • Alexa, stop.
  • Alexa, fast-forward/rewind by [duration].
  • Alexa, play the next/previous episode.

#5. Apple Podcast

Apple Podcast is one of the most popular podcast services out there, especially for Apple users. It provides an impressive array of podcasts from some of the most reputable sources, such as New York Time’s The Daily, Trevor Noah’s Daily Show, etc. Apple Podcast is also known for its simplicity and clean user-interface. However, Apple Podcast’s Alexa skill doesn’t have a wide range of customized commands, unlike some of the other skills mentioned in this list. Furthermore, the Apple Podcast skill on Alexa is currently only available in the US.

Alexa Podcast Commands for Apple:

  • Alexa, play [podcast name] on Apple Podcasts.
  • Alexa, play [podcast name] from [date] on Apple Podcasts.
  • Alexa, resume playing [podcast name] on Apple Podcasts.
  • Alexa, what's playing on Apple Podcasts.
  • Alexa, play.
  • Alexa, stop.
  • Alexa, fast-forward/rewind by [duration].
  • Alexa, play the next/previous episode.

 

Stream Podcasts from Other Devices

Not all podcast services are available in Alexa skills. Some podcasts — Downcast, iCatcher!, and Podcast Republic — are only available on some platforms and don’t have Alexa integration. However, just because one of your podcast services isn’t available in Alexa skills doesn’t mean you can’t use it with Alexa anyway.

If you’re using Alexa through a Bluetooth-enabled speaker, you can connect it to your smartphone or tablet to play from your preferred podcast app. Once you’ve linked the Alexa-enabled device to your phone, you can play your podcast app to listen to the podcast through the Alexa speaker.

The only drawback here is that you’ll be limited to basic voice functions. You can still ask Alexa to play, pause, or adjust the volume. But you won’t have greater control over your subscriptions through voice commands.

 

How to Pair Alexa-Enabled Speaker with Phone or Tablet?

  • Make sure your device is within range of your Alexa-enabled device.
  • Disconnect other Bluetooth connections either manually or by saying, “Alexa, disconnect.”
  • Set your device to Bluetooth pairing mode.
  • Say “Alexa, pair,” to make your Alexa-enabled speaker pair with your device.
  • The Alexa speaker will say “searching…” while looking for your device.
  • Under your phone’s Bluetooth settings, select the Alexa device.
  • Alexa will announce that your device is paired.
  • Play your favored podcast from the desired podcast app and control it using the basic Alexa commands.

 

Best Alexa Podcasts to Listen To

Best Alexa Comedy/ Funny Podcasts

 

#1. Comedy Bang Bang

Comedy Bang Bang - The Podcast

Comedy Bang Bang is a weekly podcast hosted by Scott Aukerman that combines character-work and conversations from some of the biggest comedians in the world. The episodes usually start with a celebrity interview, but the segment is often interrupted by an assortment of oddball characters.

Availability:

TuneIn, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts

 

#2. Anna Faris is Unqualified

Anna Faris is Unqualified

Anna Faris is Unqualified is a comedy podcast hosted by renowned actress Anna Faris, known for movies such as Scary Movie and The House Bunny. Anna Faris’ podcast draws inspiration from her various mess-ups as she gives relationship advice to a wide range of celebrity guests while acknowledging that she’s completely unqualified to do so.

Availability:

TuneIn, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts

 

#3. Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend

Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend - Podcast

Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend is a hilarious podcast hosted by the veteran of late-night TV Conon O’Brien. As the name suggests, this podcast is a platform in which Conan attempts to make a new friend amidst a host of celebrity guests because he’s come to the realization that the only people he knows are people he works with.

Availability:

TuneIn, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts

 

Best Alexa True Crime Podcasts

#1. Serial

serial podcast

Serial is a journalistic investigative podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig. Each season of the show is an attempt to unravel a new true crime investigation with meticulous journalistic detail.

Availability:

Stitcher, Apple Podcast

 

#2. Up and Vanished

Up and Vanished

Up and Vanished is an investigative podcast that focuses on cold crime cases in which someone vanished and was never found. The podcast follows documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey as he revisits evidence surrounding cold cases and brings attention to them to ignite new leads.

Availability:

TuneIn, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Spotify

 

#3. Atlanta Monster

Atlanta Monster

Atlanta Monster, hosted by Payne Lindsey, is a true-crime podcast that focuses on the mysterious disappearance and murder of over 25 African American children in Atlanta. After the first season, the podcast focuses on another famous unsolved true crime — The Zodiac Killer.

Availability:

TuneIn, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts

 

Other Best Alexa Podcasts to Listen To

#1. The Daily

The Daily Podcast NY Times

The Daily is a podcast hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by The New York Times. The Daily provides 20-minute episodes five days a week exploring the latest in world and US politics and events.

Availability:

TuneIn, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts

 

#2. Song Exploder

Song Exploder podcast

Song Exploder is a music podcast hosted by Thao Nguyen. Each episode in the podcast series introduces one relevant singer or musician who takes apart one of their songs piece-by-piece to discuss how it was made.

Availability:

TuneIn, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts

 

#3. Revisionist History

Revisionist History podcast

Revisionist History is a podcast hosted by Malcolm Gladwell in which he goes back in the past to reinterpret an overlooked or misinterpreted event, person, or idea.

Availability:

TuneIn, Stitcher, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts

 

Alexa Podcasts Troubleshooting and FAQ

What do I do if music or media is not playing with Alexa?

  • Reduce WiFi congestion by disconnecting devices you’re not actively using.
  • Shift your device closer to your router and away from interferences like walls, metal objects, microwaves, etc.
  • Place the device on a table or elevated surface off the floor.
  • Connect the device to your WiFi’s 5GHz channel.
  • Restart your device and router.
  • Make sure the podcast is compatible with Alexa.
  • Turn the Explicit Language filter off if you’re playing a podcast with NSFW content.

 

Alexa Podcast FAQs

Can Alexa play podcasts from my iPhone?

Alexa can play podcasts from your iPhone as long as you connect your iPhone to an Alexa-enabled speaker, such as Amazon Echo Dot or Echo Plus.

Can Alexa play podcasts from my Samsung or Android phone?

Alexa can play podcasts from your Samsung and other Android phones as long as you connect your Android device to an Alexa-enabled speaker, such as Amazon Echo Dot or Echo Plus.

Can Alexa play a podcast as alarm to wake me up? Can you play Alexa podcasts with routine?

Yes, you can set Alexa podcast routines to make sure your Alexa plays a podcast as alarm to wake you up. The following is a quick overview of how you can set an Alexa podcast routine:

  • Open the Alexa app on your smartphone or go to the Alexa website.
  • Navigate to Routines > + > When this Happens > Schedule.
  • Tap At Time and select the specific Hour and Minute.
  • Next, if you want to set it up regularly, tap Repeat, and select the Days.
  • Tap Done.
  • Tap Add Action > Music.
  • You can select from the listed services like Amazon Music, Spotify, TuneIn, etc. Select the desired Alexa podcast service.
  • Select the podcast you want to play.
  • Tap Next > Save.

 

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve given you a detailed overview of Alexa podcasts and how you can control them using various Alexa voice commands. We’ve also given you an overview of some of the best Alexa podcasts skills and a list of the best Alexa podcasts to listen to. Enjoy syncing up your favorite podcasts to Alexa.

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