Pandora is announcing that its Alexa “skill” set now includes podcast listening and controls. The company recommends that users get the latest version of the Alexa app, and connect it to Pandora for podcast listening. (Not necessary if Pandora is already the default service for music listening.)
Pandora refers to its podcast library as “ever-expanding,” but doesn’t quote a number: “Pandora’s ever-expanding podcast library has everything from top shows like This American Life, TED Talks Daily, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Dolly Parton’s America, People’s Party with Talib Kweli, and The Dave Ramsey Show, to exclusive podcasts from popular SiriusXM hosts including Sway, Hoda Kotb, and Andy Cohen, to forthcoming exclusive scripted podcasts from Marvel based around iconic characters like Wolverine and Black Widow, and much more.”
From the start, Pandora’s podcast catalog strategy has been selective, rather than the firehose approach of pulling all podcasts from Apple.
In addition to the basic hook-up between Alexa and Pandora’s podcasts, the new skill set includes a request for a specific episode (“Alexa, play the latest episode of Ted Talks Daily”), requesting an episode by topic (“Alexa, play the Ted Talks Daily episode about procrastination”) and using playback controls for hands-free podcast control while in the skill (“Alexa, play the next episode,” “Alexa, skip ahead two minutes,” “Alexa, replay this episode.”)