Better news skill

There are a bunch of skills around each slightly modifying the official news skill to use a different feed

The news skill should:

  • have a pre-set list of feeds ready for usage
  • be smart when selecting a default feed, for example by checking device location
  • be easy to add a new feed
  • allow user to select feed vocally
  • allow user to configure a default feed

with this in mind and by searching for variations of the news skill i made the Unified News Skill

You can request the following news stations:

Please suggest more stations, we want one per country at least!

A World News Station should be selected and become the default instead of falling back to npr, that makes the skill very USA centric


Great idea!

in dutch:

Latest stream is always at

Great idea @Jarbas_Ai


I not sure where you a pulling the BBC news from but it would be nice just to hear the headlines instead it goes on for quite a while.

The Sky News is a lot shorter


Belgium news please!


this was made for python2 and is non functional, please do not use it

believe the official news skill now allows you to set your own feed

the official one accepts something rss feed thing, but not an mp3 link… at least, it won’t work … link plays fine though…

They just replace the mp3 file for each new broadcast?

Mycroft can certainly play mp3 files but the Skill would require modification. Might be worth adding an issue to the Skills repository

yup, same url, plays the news from last broadcast, hourly updates
simple as “hey mycroft, play the news”

haven’t looked into building my own skills yet, just got the thing running, kinda stopped tinkering a bit because I really wanted the squezeserver skill working, but throws me errors
same with this one, couldn’t get it to work in a few minutes, so delayed the tinkering…

and the weather is the wrong forecast (different city with same name) which is a known issue, and ‘being worked on’

Things can take time unfortunately. There’s a lot of competing priorities, but we are getting to the Weather Skill in the next few weeks.

The News feeds are slightly more of a challenge as we have to search around for them in different countries. It makes sense to add the ability to play this type of ‘feed’ via static url though.

If you want to add it into your own fork of the skill we have a simple method for playing mp3’s. Even better if you want to contribute that change back to the core version of the Skill :smiley:

To play an mp3 in a Skill you would need to import the method
from mycroft.util import play_mp3

then in the intent handler use:

If you’re contributing it back to the project too, then you’d want to add Belgium as an option in the Skill Settings so that users can switch.

I haven’t tried the Squeeze Server as it hasn’t been submitted to the Marketplace yet, so can’t help with that one I’m afraid.

:studio_microphone: Alright, I’m going to do a bit of updating on the News Skill :studio_microphone:
If anyone has some feeds they want to throw into the mix, now is the time to do it!!

@sanghoku - what should I call this feed?
VRT News Belgium?

Hi, thanks for the feedback;
I’m very new to Mycroft, so adapting/writing skills is something I’m not experienced in, neiterh do I have the time at the moment to learn it, but it doesn’t seem that hard (already know Python)
Looking forward tot he weather update!

Regarding the news skill: maybe work woth country prefixes?
Kinda like:
[BE] VRT Nieuws
[NZ] Headlines from Mordor
[UK] BBC Breaking
makes it clear for everyone, and sorting is handled as well…

Great suggestion re the prefixes. Short, snappy, and easily recognisable.

The NZ channel I was looking at doesn’t seem to have a publicly available RSS feed. Why wouldn’t a public radio station want more people to hear their content?

If you’re interested in trying out Skill dev, checkout our Mycroft Skills Kit. From whatever you have Mycroft installed on you should be able to run mycroft-msk create, answer a few questions, and it will setup a Skill template for you to work from. When adding input and output phrases just put curly braces around the variables eg “play {station} radio”, “now playing {station} radio” and MSK will set these up as entities.

For some radio stations I have in my squeezeserver favorites, I also had to inspect the player element, or the running streams, to figure out the correct URL.