Surge Radio is the University of Southampton’s student radio and has been operating from Southampton since 1976. We created an Amazon Alexa skill so users can stream Surge’s live content straight to their smart speakers or Fire TV/home hi-fi.
We used the existing infrastructure used by Surge to serve their live stream to their website in the Alexa skill, meaning that setup time was minimal. The created Alexa skill went on to be nominated in the 2018 Student Radio Awards as the Best Technical Achievement.
Alexa skills can send an AudioPlayer directive to Echo devices to stream and play high bit-rate audio and this functionality is the foundation of most smart speakers. Usually to add custom audio into an Alexa conversation, for example an earcon, the sound file is included in the normal response. However, strict restrictions are applied to the file since it is pre-processed by Amazon Polly before it is served. Sending an AudioPlayer directive instead bypasses these restrictions and can play music up to 384kbps.
Not everyone is always at their desktop PC or laptop and sound quality from smartphones is not as good as bespoke speakers. For Surge, and many more internet radio stations, Alexa and her AudioPlayer functionality has provided another channel on top of their website for listeners to access live content around their home.
Enable the Surge Radio Alexa Skill in the Alexa app or on the Amazon webpage.
Then, just say to your smart speaker, “Alexa, play Surge Radio”.
We do not collect any personal information from this skill. Amazon provides anonymised analytical tools to help us understand how our skills are being used.
Enable the Surge Skill on your Alexa devices
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