Talking Newspaper Alexa Skill Project

Cue and Review Recording Service was funded by Scottish Government’s Communities Recovery Fund via The National Lottery Community Fund.

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Community Fund Logo

Our Alexa Skill brings talking newspapers that are members of the Talking Newspaper Federation together on a skill developed by the British Wireless for the Blind Fund.

For more on the launch of the beta test check out


ALEXA SKILL APP NOW IN BETA TESTING - Community Recovery Funding of £50k enables joint project with BWBF

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British Wireless for the Blind logo

British Wireless for the Blind Fund Keeping Everyone Connected. The Alexa skill is just the latest way to access talking newspapers in conjunction with BWBF. You can also try Sonata Internet Radio, the Talking Newspaper App and the various cassette USB players.

Talking Newspaper Federation Logo

The Talking News Federation exists to support and assist over 300 local Talking Newspapers to deliver local news and information in audio to blind, partially sighted and print disabled people.

Talking Newspaper Alexa Skill logo

Installation and Usage Instructions


Please note these instructions will change as testing moves forward.  We are keen to hear from you what other instructions you think could be added in future.

While our skill is now live we need you to feedback on any improvements we can make, please, therefore, complete our online evaluation form.​

To get started using the skill say “Alexa Enable, Talking Newspapers”, make sure you use the plural. Then say “Alexa, open talking newspaper” to your Alexa device.  A short message will play, meaning you have successfully started the skill.


To get started, say play and the name of the title you would like to listen to.  For example, “play Cue and Review The National”, Cue and Review The Herald, Cue and Review Evening Times ”.  Make sure you say the exact title as below.


The functions which currently should work are Next, Previous, Loop, Pause, Resume and Stop.


You can change the newspaper you are listening to by saying stop and then saying for example “play Cue and Review Herald.”.

Current Areas that we are working to improve:

  • We are aware that you are currently unable to request a new newspaper title, while playing a newspaper – for example, if I was listening to the National, I would be unable to change to the Herald.

  • There may be long pauses between a request and the newspaper playing (recent changes to the code has brought this time down), please note if you think the wait times are still too long.

  • There is currently no way to find out what you can listen to with the skill, in the near term we will be building in a location function – for example, “Alexa, tell me the talking newspapers in Glasgow”

  • We will be introducing a recorded introduction to the skill and rolling out the opportunity to skip the message.


What to look out for (how to break the skill):

  • How you pronounce the name of your talking newspaper, the skill will improve over time but if we know certain newspapers it is having issues with we can focus on problem areas.

  • The next and previous buttons should be fully functional, please play around with these, after 5 tracks the Alexa should say that it has reached the end of the newspaper.

  • You are able to request any talking newspaper listen on the Talking Newspapers mobile phone application (please test this)

  • The skill should be playing the newest recording first, but in some cases, this might not happen – please let us know.

  • The skill now should be fairly robust, if you do find any ways to break it – let us know!!

Other Scottish titles you can listen to include:

  • Borders Talking Newspaper

  • Cue and Review Evening Times

  • Cue and Review Herald

  • Cue and Review Inside Soap

  • Cue and Review The National

  • Daily Record from Play Back

  • East Dunbartonshire Radio

  • East Kilbride and District Talking Newspaper

  • East Lothian Life

  • East Lothian Messenger

  • Hamilton Sound

  • Headline Helensburgh Talking Newspaper for the Blind

  • Lothian Sound

  • Midlothian News and Views Talking Newspaper

  • Orkney Talking Magazine

  • Orkney Talking Newspaper

  • Playback ABC Audio News

  • Playback Magazine

  • Renfrewshire Sound

  • Scottish Field from Play Back

  • Shetland Life

  • Shetland Times

  • Sound of the Piper

  • Stonehaven and District Talking Newspaper

  • Sunday Mail from Play Back

  • The New Shetlander

  • The Scottish Farmer

  • West Lothian Boomerang​

Sample Videos

(actual videos coming soon)

Alexa - Unboxing and Setup Walkthrough

Alexa - How to Work the Buttons