Shortcut for better HomePod responses

My wife likes to play KUT News (Austin’s NPR station) on the HomePod when doing things around the house. Unlike with Alexa, Siri often does not know what to do when she asks it to play KUT News. (It often plays a weird podcast or some hip-hop song.) She has tried “Kay You Tea News,” “cut news,” and others. The only thing that regularly works is “KUT News 90.5 Austin,” but that’s a bit of a mouthful.

Until Siri makes the improvements that we all know are needed, I’d like to see if there is a Siri Shortcut I could program or some other way to strong-arm Siri to play that specific radio station on demand, but I haven’t figured out the best way to do this. (I thought maybe creating a specific playlist in the Music app, but it doesn’t look like you can add radio stations to playlists, which I suppose makes sense.)

Any ideas?

If you go to Apple Music on your phone and scroll alllll the way down, it lists “local” broadcast stations you can stream (which may or may not be local to you).

Most are either “from TuneIn” or “from iHeartRadio “ — I’m pretty sure you can tell Siri: “Play (call-sign) from TuneIn on HomePod” or something similar.

Here’s a URL for a feed that I think is from the Austin station you mentioned: ‎KUTX 98.9 Radio Station on Apple Music

Yes, I’ve found that, but KUTX 98.9 is a music station broadcast from the same studio. Telling Siri to play KUTX plays the music station. KUT 90.5 is the NPR news station. KUT should work, but the call letters are “KUT,” and I can’t find a way to say that to Siri that works consistently (“cut”, “Kay You Tea”, etc.). The only thing that works consistently is “Play KUT 90.5.” Perhaps that’s good enough, but I was hoping to shorten it to something easier to remember. (As someone who never listens to radio over the airwaves anymore, call letters and station numbers aren’t engrained in my brain anymore.)

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Have you tried adding “… from TuneIn” at the end of the command? That works here, where the call sign of the local public radio news station is also pronounceable. (It works for me when I spell it out — the equivalent of kay-you-tee for you.)

When Siri doesn’t give me the response I want to requests that I’ll use regularly, I create a shortcut for that exact phrase to trigger the action I want.

In this case, I experimented for you by creating a Shortcut called “Play Cut Radio” (so it would consistently interpret the word the way it sounds) with two actions:

Set Playback Destination
Play Music

I set the playback to my HomePod and then when selecting the Music I wanted, I tapped to enter the Music app, searched for “KUT News,” and selected the result.

When I asked Siri to play KUT News from then on, it played that station every time.

See screenshot (as a new user here, it let me share only one). Hope this helps.

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That actually was what I though about initially. The problem is that Shortcuts like this are usually run locally on the phone. Because this is an issue for multiple people, I wanted a solution that could run on the HomePod. I could simply add this shortcut to my wife’s iPhone (she doesn’t really use any shortcuts that I don’t set up and maintain for her), and I might do just that. Thanks.

Yes, I do that at my home: a command or shortcut that my room mates use, too, I share with them and they file away into a folder at the bottom of their list.

This way, Siri will give the same results to all voices who make the request. I’m also working on my own home-grown repository akin to RoutineHub where I can save these household-specific shortcuts, posting updates when required—and have the shortcuts check for updates to stay current without much hassle.

I agree that, while sending the shortcut over to your wife’s phone is not the most desired method, it’s currently the best way to get the exact result you want, consistently.

My room mates thought it weird that I shared some shortcuts the first few times because they had not known anything about all of that. They just know me well enough to know I’m up to some technical shenanigans and let me set it up for them :rofl:

But now that I’ve begun to make routine things easier and more consistent for the household, they’ve started getting interested and I think one of them is starting to experiment with shortcuts on their own now.

He’s been sharing ideas with me of things he’d like to automate, so the geek in me is excited to see their interest. :slight_smile: