BBC debuts Alexa news bulletins in response to local Leicester lockdown

In response to the city’s recent local lockdown, the BBC has extended its smart speaker news update service to Leicester, helping to keep the community occupied with the latest news during their period of being forced back indoors.

The news update service is available in both English and Gujarati through Amazon Alexa-enabled devices, and will provide the latest local lockdown news and other local stories. The people of Leicester simply have to ask Alexa to “play BBC Radio Leicester update” or “play BBC Radio Leicester Gujarati update” to get their fix.

“For all the changes elsewhere, lockdown isn’t being eased in Leicester, so people there have a uniquely urgent need for information they can trust,” said Mukul Devichand, Executive Editor for BBC Voice + AI. “I’m proud that the BBC could move fast to use Voice Assistants to help them. I hope and believe this and other hyper-local services will carry on after the current crisis, because serving community-level need is a key part of our future vision for a British public media that uses AI well.”

BBC Radio Leicester now joins the BBC Radio stations in Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, London, Devon, Coventry and Warwickshire (CWR), and Wales in having on-demand daily news bulletins.

The news bulletins are currently only available on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices, but the BBC says it is looking to introduce them to other smart assistant platforms in the future.