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Alexa, Play 'Morning Edition'

Editor's Note: NPR decided to sunset the Morning Edition on-demand initiative on October 1, 2020. When listeners say "Alexa, play Morning Edition," they will hear a message that it is no longer available and be redirected to the live Member station stream. As no experiment comes with a guarantee of success, we still came away with valuable insights that will help us continue to build and refine our efforts to bring public radio — and our local/national partnership — into the on-demand space.

Starting today, Morning Edition will be available on-demand on all Alexa-enabled smart speakers. Just say, "Alexa, play Morning Edition," and you will hear the last hour of that morning's show as it was aired by your preferred NPR Member station. You will no longer need to worry about missing a story, or tuning in mid-broadcast, because now you can choose when to listen at your own convenience.

Plus, it's localized. NPR Member stations across the country are participating, including stations in all of the top 50 media markets. This means that the on-demand experience of Morning Edition, with its original national and local news segments, will be available on Alexa-enabled smart speakers each weekday from 7am to 3pm local time. (Outside of this timeframe listeners will hear their live station stream.)

"We're thrilled that NPR is bringing Morning Edition to their skill on Alexa and providing listeners with yet another way to hear its member stations," said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President of Alexa. "This skill is a great example of how news consumption continues to evolve, with convenient, on-demand access to Morning Edition that is now available to any listener with an Alexa-enabled device."

Since its debut on November 5, 1979, Morning Edition has been a forum for robust discussion, rigorous reporting and powerful storytelling. Nearly 40 years later, Morning Edition has grown into the most listened-to news radio program in the country, with over 14 million people tuning in each week; and through innovations and expansion onto new devices, NPR and its Member stations are reaching more people on more platforms than ever before.

The mission of NPR is to work in partnership with Member stations to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. Increasingly, listeners have turned to smart speakers to consume news. According to NPR's latest Smart Audio Report, a reported 53 million people (21% of the U.S. adult population) now own at least one smart speaker - and NPR content will be right there, meeting listeners wherever they go.

"Together with our Member Stations, NPR has been dedicated to building relationships with Amazon Alexa and other voice services and amplifying the unique national-local experience that our audience knows and trusts," said NPR Chief Digital Officer Thomas Hjelm. "In recent months, we have been working to deliver more NPR and public radio content directly to these new platforms, including local station streams on Alexa and Google Assistant and more. This new initiative brings our most listened-to news program, Morning Edition, to the voice-activated, on-demand world. It's another example of how, together, NPR and stations will sustain our reach, relevance and mission in the future."

Tune in, and stay informed.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ben Fishel