Automating a bedtime podcast for the kids

Hey folks, I’m trying to build an automation for my kids at bedtime, trying to stay in the HomeKit ecosystem if possible.

Goal: adjust lights for nighttime (main lights off, nightlight strip on). Start a bedtime podcast.

The lights are easy, but I can’t figure out how to get a podcast to play. I can have shortcuts play a podcast, but I can’t figure out how to have it play on the HomePod. I suppose I could use Shortcutify to trigger Spotify to a speaker as an alternative, but I don’t know if I can trigger that with a home automation or just a personal automation.

How do you all do things like this?

I don’t have a HomePod, but does the “Set Playback Destination” Shortcuts action work for this, maybe?

In my experience? No.

Should it work? Absolutely!

Does it work? Sometimes!

Would you find it unreliable and frustrating? Signs point to ‘yes’.

I can’t even get a simple shortcut that says “Play my iPhone music to HomePods” to work reliably. At least half of the time it says something about being unable to set playback destination, or words to that effect.