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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.

Scottish Government 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

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.

Clickable image of our Alexa Press Release
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.

Alexa and Google Talking Newspaper Skill

The following document provides full details for the BWBF/TNF Alexa and Google Skill carrying Talking Newspaper audio.

The Smart Speaker service is provided to any Talking Newspaper who is part of the BWBF Streamed Service. Which also provides support for the Talking Newspaper App and Web outputs through ‘BWBF WebPlayer’.

This guide is broken down into sections and provides every detail needed to download, access and get the most from the skill. The instructions for Alexa and Google are also separate as their features and command phrases differ.

We hope that this will be useful for you in whole or in part to send out as you see necessary.

Accessing the skill for the first time

Note - If you are transitioning between another skill for example ‘My Talking Newspapers’, it will need to be disabled first, this can best be completed by using the Alexa App:-

Open the app select More > Skills and Games > Your Skills > Enabled Skills, select the skill and disable.


Once the Alexa device is fully set up, connected to the WiFi and ready to go, the enable command can be used using your voice. “Alexa enable Talking Newspapers”, then follow the prompts given by Alexa, until confirmation is provided that the skill has been enabled.


In some instances the skill must be enabled using the Alexa app on your smart device as below:-

Open the app select More > Skills and Games > Search > “Talking Newspapers” > Enable


Once the Google device is fully set up, connected to the WiFi and ready to go, you don’t need to enable the skill to use this, it can just be opened, please see the opening skill instructions further on in this document.

Opening the skill

The command, once the skill is enabled, is “Alexa open Talking Newspaper”, which will open the skill. How to use the skill’s Features and Functions can be found further on in this document.

Additionally, you can directly access the newspaper you want in Alexa. You can say “Alexa Ask Talking Newspaper for Liverpool Talking Newspaper” or any publication name. This will immediately play the talking newspaper selected.


The command to open the skill is “Hey Google Talk to Talking Newspaper”, this will open the skill. How to use the skill’s Features and Functions can be found further on in this document.

Features and functions available

Due to the functionality of the smart speakers themselves, there are slight variations in Alexa and Googles functionality.


Once the skill is open the intro message will be played, this will vary as the skill gets more used to the user.

For the first time of opening or if the skill has not been used for a while, you will hear the standard welcome message, the user will then be asked for a Talking Newspaper name or the name of a town or city in the UK.

When providing a response to the Talking Newspaper or Area name we suggest the following should ensure a good user experience.

Talking Newspaper names, Alexa will only find the newspaper under the exact name that it has been added to the service as. Variations, or what is called synonyms can be added, so that shortened versions of the name, nicknames or even misspellings due to annunciation or pronunciation issues such as TN or Tee En can be accommodated. If you want any support with this, please contact us at and we would be delighted to help you. Once these synonyms are set, however, Alexa can provide the same response however the listener asks.

Other Scottish titles you can listen to include:

  • Borders Talking Newspaper

  • Cue and Review Children Stories

  • 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

  • Falkirk Sensory Centre News

  • Headline Helensburgh Talking Newspaper for the Blind

  • Kirkintilloch Herald

  • Lothian Sound

  • Midlothian News and Views Talking Newspaper

  • Orkney Talking Magazine

  • Play Back ABC Audio News

  • Play Back Magazine

  • Renfrewshire Sound

  • Scottish Field from Play Back

  • Shetland Life

  • Shetland Times

  • Stonehaven and District Talking Newspaper

  • Sunday Mail from Play Back

  • Talk Lochaber

  • Sunday Mail from Play Back

  • Talk Lochaber

  • 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

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