CBC, HomePod, and Siri

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available on how to access CBC content using Siri on HomePod and HomePod mini, so I decided to put together a guide based on my experience and research. Last updated July 2024.

All results below are from tests on my 2018 HomePod stereo pair running HomePod Software Version 17.5 with the new Home architecture on July 2, 2024.

I bought my first HomePod in June 2018. I listen mostly to Apple Music, along with some podcasts — and CBC news and radio. More than half of my interaction with HomePod is via voice.

CBC has several pages addressing HomePod support:

  1. How can I use Siri to play CBC? (last updated circa mid- 2020)
  2. Do I have to enable anything on my Apple HomePod? (last updated circa 2019)
  3. How to play CBC Radio on your new smart speaker (December 2018)

Someone, somewhere — CBC, TuneIn, and/or Apple — seems regularly to be tweaking many of these commands, as there are changes every month. But there tend to be as many regressions as improvements.

Here’s a review of the commands provided on those pages, and their current status.

Page (above)“Hey Siri …”Result
1“… play CBC Radio.”Failure, after a few months where it played CBC The World This Hour. “Okay The Word This Hour coming up. Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Podcasts.”
1“… play the latest news from CBC.”Failure: “Here’s the latest news. Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Podcasts.”
2, 3“… play CBC Radio news.”Failure. Plays “classic rock station” and, in July 2024, “70s Hit Station.”
2, 3“… play CBC Radio 1.”Success, May 2024, for the first tine in a while. Plays CBC Radio 1 Vancouver for me (my location).
2“… play CBC Radio Music.”Failure. Tries playing The World This Hour, then says “Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Podcasts.”

On the 2018 page (3), there is a video with Piya Chattopadhyay demonstrating the “play CBC Radio One” command. The video ends by promoting a url, cbc.ca/smart, which as of this writing only has instructions for Amazon Alexa.

Page (2) states “We will continue to work on our Apple implementation of the voice experience and will announce late in 2019 when it’s ready to go. Stay tuned!” Page (3) says “New experiences are coming in 2019.”

Communications with CBC

I wrote to CBC in June 2019, and received the following from CBC Audience Services:

“CBC Radio One is limited to the Ottawa feed on HomePod.  CBC Music is not officially supported on HomePod either. All a work in progress and changing constantly. We are continually working on improvements and upgrades on all digital platforms.”

There is a lot more CBC content Siri on HomePod can access besides Ottawa Radio One (see below). But since that message, CBC had stopped responding to emails or tweets on the subject until, quite unexpectedly, an email arrived July 11, 2022, which stated in part:

“This is a known issue which we are currently investigating. Please read the following CBC Help Centre article referring to this issue: NEW Issues connection to CBC Radio networks on internet devices [apparently updated in early 2023, though it doesn’t appear there were changes]. We do apologize for any inconvenience.”

It’s also unclear who has responsibility for ensuring that Siri can be used to access CBC content. The page sent to me above says to “reach out to the software support team for your device or service and ask them to contact CBC directly.” But is this TuneIn (the service that provides radio to Apple Music and hence via HomePod)? Apple? I replied with all of these questions, but in a response sent July 19, 2022, only got back “As the article link from our help centre says:” with the first and third paragraphs of the above page quoted, and “That’s all I can give you for the moment.”

It’s not clear whether by “this” they were referring to issues with HomePod in general — every time I email or tweet CBC I include a link to this page, but have no way of knowing whether they’ve looked at it — or some specific issue, perhaps the recent problem with CBC Music Vancouver.

Siri Command Reference

Particularly with the introduction of the HomePod mini, not to mention the second-generation full-size HomePod, these issues would seem to be a significant oversight on the part of CBC. But in the meantime, I’ve discovered through trial and error that there are other commands that work, over and above the few documented on the original web pages from 2018-20. I also looked at the TuneIn pages for CBC stations and music. The following is my analysis of what plays based on various commands. It’s worth noting that some results may be affected by my location, Vancouver; thanks to ThiefClashRoyale for doing some tests from Ottawa in March 2023. (I have omitted podcasts, since they can be asked for directly; some generic commands like “play the CBC news” happen to redirect to podcasts.)

“Siri…” or “Hey Siri…”ResultNotes
“… switch to CBC news.”Failure“Sorry, I can’t play that right now.” Worked when tested in both September and November 2023, but not in October. September 2023 was the first time it had worked in months or years of being broken, but this is a new error as of February 2024.

Making this request i supposed to play The World This Hour when you ask “…what’s my update?”
“… play the CBC news.”Failure“Here’s the latest news. Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Podcasts.” Had been fixed as of September 2023 — played The World This Hour. It had played The World at Six podcast for a couple of months until the November 2022 update, when it started playing Quirks and Quarks, then switched to Front Burner in June 2023.
“… play CBC Music.”FailureTries playing The World This Hour, and again “Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Podcasts.”
“… play CBC Music Vancouver.”SuccessAppears to have been fixed as of August 8, 2022.

As of July-August 2022, I was getting Barbara Peatland: Canadian Composers Portraits. Starting around July 2022, resulted in “Now play CBC Music Vancouver, Provided by TuneIn. … Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Music.”

For a few weeks in May 2021, this no longer worked as CBC Music Vancouver disappeared from TuneIn. I tweeted at CBC and TuneIn and only TuneIn responded. They wrote, “CBC Music Vancouver have decided to restrict their stream within mobile device users only. This means CBC Music Vancouver can’t be accessed through smart speakers or receiver such as HomePod.” However, a week or so later the station had been restored to TuneIn. But this makes me wonder whether there might be a movement at CBC to try to force people to use their Listen app.
“… play CBC Music Halifax.”SuccessFixed some time between July and August 2022; for a time I got back, “Now playing CBC Music Halifax … Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Music.”
“… play CBC Music Edmonton.”SuccessFixed some time between July and August 2022; for a time I got back, “Now playing CBC Music Edmonton … Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Music.”
“… play CBC Music Winnipeg.”SuccessFixed some time between July and August 2022; for a time I got back, “Now playing CBC Music Winnipeg … Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Music.”
“… play CBC Music Toronto.”FailureAs of June 2024, plays the Tragically Hip, starting with a random song (!).

For a few months before that, played CBC Radio One Toronto, with the 1974–1992 CBC logo. For a couple of years this played Norma Beecroft: Improvvisazioni Concertanti No. 1, From Dreams of Brass, Collage ’76, Jeu II, Accordion Play (Canadian Composers Portraits) [link].
“… play CBC Radio One.”SuccessWorking in May 2024 for the first time in a while. Plays CBC Radio One Vancouver, my location.
“… play CBC Radio One Vancouver.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One St. John’s.”SuccessSt. John’s, Newfoundland
“… play CBC Radio One Saint John.”FailureSaint John, New Brunswick. In October 2022 I noticed that this is no longer listed on TuneIn’s Stream CBC page, but it still worked. As of May 2024 it is again listed, but plays St. John’s regardless of how carefully I enunciate.
“… play CBC Radio One Kelowna.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Toronto.”SuccessStation artwork is, for some reason, the 1974–1992 CBC logo rather than the CBC Radio One logo that all the other stations use.

“… play CBC Radio One London.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Kitchener-Waterloo.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Halifax.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Moncton.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Edmonton.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Prince George.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Ottawa.”
Success
“… play CBC Radio One Winnipeg.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Sudbury.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Montreal.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Victoria.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Charlottetown.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Regina.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Fredericton.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Thunder Bay.”Success
“… play CBC Radio One Goose Bay”SuccessIn September 2022, I checked TuneIn’s Stream CBC page for the first time in a few months, and discovered this station had been added. Bonus! As of October 2023 it’s no longer listed, but still works.
“… play CBC Radio One Barrie”SuccessAdded to TuneIn circa September 2022, but Siri wasn’t able to find it until the February 2023 update. As of October 2023 it’s no longer listed, but still works.
“… play CBC Radio One Kingston”FailureAs of July 2024, Plays “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. As of May 2024, was playing Apple Music One. As of October 2023 it was no longer listed on TuneIn’s Stream CBC page.
“… play CBC Radio One Peterborough”SuccessIn October 2022, I checked TuneIn’s Stream CBC page, and discovered this station had been added — it resulted in an error until the November 2022 update. As of October 2023 it’s no longer listed, but still works.
“… play CBC Radio One Saskatoon”SuccessAdded some time in September 2022. As of October 2023 it was no longer listed, but was added back by May 2024. It worked the whole time. Odd.
“… play CBC Radio One Sydney.”SuccessIn April 2023, I checked TuneIn’s Stream CBC page, and discovered this station had been added.
“… play CBC Radio One Windsor.”SuccessIn April 2023, I checked TuneIn’s Stream CBC page, and discovered this station had been added. As of October 2023 it’s no longer listed, but still works.
“… play CBC Radio One Calgary.”SuccessIn April 2023, I checked TuneIn’s Stream CBC page, and discovered this station had been added. Interestingly, in June 2023 I was testing all the channels and my HomePods were playing Windsor above; I asked for Calgary and on the first try it said it couldn’t find CBC Radio One Windsor-Calgary. Same happened in March 2024.
“… play CBC North Iqaluit”SuccessIn July 2023, I checked TuneIn’s Stream CBC page, and discovered this station had been added. But as of December of that year it had been removed, even though the command still worked.

Interestingly, “… play CBC Radio One North Iqaluit” doesn’t seem to work.

There’s clearly some room for improvement here. CBC should at least fix the incorrect mappings. It’s unclear to me what the relationship is between an entity like CBC and Apple, but there’s a blurb and link on Apple’s Siri for Developers page for integration of a streaming service with HomePod (I don’t currently have an Apple Developer account, so I can’t view the page).

Please let me know if you have any updates or other information, and I will try to keep this page current.

35 thoughts on “CBC, HomePod, and Siri

  1. Thank you Chris!
    Wow, this is the best guide/tutorial for random IT issues that I’ve ever seen.
    Extremely well presented + very helpful – it addresses all the questions that come up and answers them.
    Supersmart.
    Thank you Chris for being so cool and sharing this with us.
    All the best from Hamburg/GER
    Ian

  2. I used my HomePod mini to listen to cbc rádio Ottawa for the past year or so, occasionally I would get some other cbc radio station but since June 28 or 29 2022 when you say “ play cbc radio one” you no longer get cbc rádio Ottawa instead you get a random cbc station usually Toronto.

    Anyone knows how to get cbc Ottawa on HomePod?

    • As noted, “Hey Siri, play CBC Radio One Ottawa” has not been working for a while, at least for me; although this could have something to do with location — I’m in Vancouver.

  3. Hi – just found this and great. I too had problems with CBC Music Vancouver in 2021… which resolved itself via Tunein… but alas this past week or so, CBC Music Vancouver is no longer listed as available on Tunein and I did get a reply from TuneIn they were looking at it… just wondering if you had looked into this this month/year?

    • Hi Joe, I re-tested everything and updated the page just a few days ago. CBC Music Vancouver is still listed on TuneIn’s CBC Page, but I just noticed that if you select it, there’s a message “This station is not currently available.” So I’m still getting the error from Siri as noted (“Sorry, there was a problem with Apple Music”).

  4. Yep! This has all happened before – like a year ago – but they all seemed to correct it thought this time seems to hanging around. To me it feels like a licensing issue and just someone has forgotten to update things or such. I did email TuneIn and got this response:

    “Thank you for contacting TuneIn Support.

    We wish to inform you that, we have reached out to the broadcaster CBC, for a new stream that can help in providing a better listening experience. Meanwhile, your cooperation and understanding are highly appreciated. We will get back as soon as we have any further updates on this.

    It’s been a pleasure to assist you. “

    • My assumption has been that it’s someone just not putting in the work in mapping Siri commands to stations. But I have no evidence to back this up. It’s not clear who’s responsible: CBC, TuneIn, and/or Apple?

  5. I am in Ottawa and have similar but slightly different issues.

    “Hey Siri, Play CBC Music Halifax” —> “Here’s CBC Music Halifax provided by TuneIn”. Works.

    “Hey Siri, Play CBC Music Toronto” —> “Now Playing Norma ………”. Does not work!

    “Hey Siri, Play CBC Music Winnipeg” —> “Here’s CBC Music Winnipeg provided by TuneIn”. Works.

    “Hey Siri, Play CBC Music Edmonton” —> “Here’s CBC Music Edmonton provided by TuneIn”. Works.

    “Hey Siri, Play CBC Music Vancouver” —> “Here’s CBC Vancouver Halifax provided by TuneIn”. Works.

    It is my “local” (Eastern time zone) feed that does not work. I’m beginning to suspect that the HomePod uses Geodata and tries to access the local feed from a source that is not TuneIn….and that source no longer exists.

    Can anyone in a different time zone try the same thing and report their results.

  6. I just got a HomePod mini. I was hoping to use it to replace an Echo. Unfortunately, a must for me is streaming Radio One Ottawa.

    So I was able to start any local stream (Toronto, London, St. John’s, Vancouver), but it comes back with the error noted above when I ask for Ottawa. If I ask for Radio One (no city), it starts my personal “station” on Apple Music.

    I looked into how it works on different platforms. From an Apple point-of-view, there is no station for Radio One Ottawa in Apple Music on iPhone or on macOS. There is a station without a city (https://music.apple.com/ca/station/cbc-radio-one/ra.1388704969) but it doesn’t start. Given the history on this page, this my theory for what happened; Radio One (no city) streamed Ottawa, before the local feeds were available. Once the local feeds came online, they broke the ‘no-city’ stream, but didn’t follow the steps needed to get Ottawa to work with Apple Music.

    Note that on the Echo and in the TuneIn app, CBC Radio One Ottawa works fine. Something between CBC and TuneIn, or between TuneIn and Apple is broken. I’ve put in a ticket with CBC Support. We’ll see what comes of it.

    • Thanks for this. I suspect your theory is correct. Let me know if you hear anything back from CBC, and I’ll add it to the page.

      • I also put in a ticket with TuneIn. They just got back to me, said it’s a problem on Apple’s side and that they will work with them. Who knows if it go any further.

        • Just found this page after fighting with this for months. I submitted a feedback form to apple and cited this page.

          I know that Ottawa stopped working for a while in the CBC Listen iOS app at the same time as the “cityless” (Ottawa) TuneIn link stopped working. I’m wondering if CBC changed some reference on their side that broke it everywhere.

          That said, I’m pretty sure this is a problem on Apple’s side. They need to add all of the city stations to Apple Music for them to work properly.

          • Interesting that there may be a correspondence with the Listen app. If it is Apple, I wonder why they’d take the time to remove CBC Radio Ottawa from Apple Music.

          • Chris – I couldn’t reply to your below comment for some reason

            I don’t think it ever was in Apple Music. I think the old URL was mapped to “Generic” CBC Radio One, so it just worked before by coincidence. When they started mapping specific cities maybe they just skipped Ottawa because it was already mapped, and then when CBC changed the URL they never fixed it?

            Anyways, I think they may have fixed it! It seems mapped in Apple Music now, and when I ask Siri on my phone for “CBC Radio One Ottawa” it works!

            If anyone else wants to give it a try…

  7. CBC radio 1 Winnipeg not playing or skipping / repeating on HomePod (new), not playing on iPhone or through Music. Non Apple seems okay, have contacted friends across country, mixed results. Het SIRI play cbc radio 1 – plays my music library, second attempt plays broken repeating feed – March 17 to 19 2023 ongoing

  8. Chris

    The past week I have been experiencing skipping when playing CBC Music (Vancouver) through TuneIn to any Apple device (HomePod Mini, iPhone) and just wondering if you are experiencing the same?

    I sent a note to TuneIn and I assume someone will at some point fix it but like all the issues in this environment, I don’t think its a direct action and just the result of them doing regular maintenance etc… seems at least once a year around this time, something goes oddly weird…

    Thanks!

      • I’ve tried testing that out through different setups and its the same. It plays for a bit but then skips back about 10 seconds… does this until the playing just stops and it errors out. It plays fine within the CBC Music app itself but of course… that does not play through Apple Music to the HomePod(s)

        Also testing directly through the TuneIn web site and that seems to be OK…

  9. Here’s my experience with HomePod 17.0 on October 2, 2023:

    Hey Siri, play CBC Radio One Ottawa – plays the correct station from TuneIn (with ads inserted)
    Hey Siri, play CBC Music Ottawa – plays (to my considerable amusement) “I’ve been everywhere” by Johnny Cash

    Hey Siri, play CBC Radio One Halifax – plays the station from TuneIn, I didn’t listen long enough to double-check the station identification
    Hey Siri, play CBC Music Halifax – plays the station from TuneIn, I didn’t listen long enough to double-check the station identification

    If you’re under the impression that CBC Radio Two or CBC Classical still exists, it fails in various ways.

    Hey Siri, play CBC Radio Two Classical – Siri says “playing classical station” (I don’t know what station it’s playing, definitely not CBC)
    Hey Siri, play CBC Radio Classical – plays, rather improbably, Hard Rock Station

  10. Just checking – is CBC an available news source for your Apple Home setup.
    for the past 2 weeks, its just been CNN or CTV and ‘the latest news’ request or saying ‘switch to CBC’ says there are no unplayed eps of The World This Hour…

    • The World This Hour is a podcast; when you make a request to HomePod, it will play “The World This Hour” from Apple Podcasts. I have not had this issue with that particular podcast, which I play once a day.

      • Yes – its a podcast, but if you (or up to 2 weeks ago) said ‘Siri whats the latest news?’ it would play that podcast automatically. You didn’t have to be specific about playing that podcast by title.

        And if you asked Siri what the news sources were – it would say CNN, CTV and CBC to automate the above… but right now, only CNN and CTV are available. If you ask Siri to ‘switch news source to CBC’ it says there are no unaired eps of The World This Hour – though there are (assuming you haven’t played it)

        • I just tried, and got “Sorry, there is a problem with Apple Podcasts” both for “What’s my update?” and “play the latest news.” I wonder what the source of the regression is. I’ll check again when I update the page for February. Thanks for letting me know.

          • It’s not clear to me where things break down, even after having maintained the page for a few years. I suspect it is most likely TuneIn; but it could be changes in Siri, where it can’t map the request to the correct podcast. Is it Apple’s fault? TuneIn’s? CBC’s? Some combination? I don’t have any knowledge of how these services interact.

  11. This is absolutely fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to maintain this page!

    I’m still getting the “Sorry, there’s a problem with Apple Podcasts” message. I was playing around with Apple Shortcuts when I noticed that, for me, “The World This Hour” doesn’t appear in my list of podcasts when using the “Play Podcasts” module. Even though I’m subscribed to it and it appears in my podcast app.

    It feels very much like it’s related to how the podcast is classified with Apple. CBC may have updated their podcast feed and omitted something. I’m also wondering if it may have something to do with the bill C-18.

    In the meantime, I just wanted ahead and built a Shortcut that searches for “The World This Hour” and then plays it on my HomePod. Now, I can just say “Siri, run The World This Hour” and it starts. It’s not super convenient but it’ll work for now.

    Thanks for keeping this page going, Chris! It’s fantastic!

    • There hasn’t been any change overall for me in that CBC is no longer on the ‘news’ sources of Apple – I also think this plays into a big update of the overall podcasts (they consolidated some, updated the images etc) and Apple…

      Note that I can just ask Siri to play ‘CBC the world this hour’ and it will play the latest (and update accordingly in my podcast app) so I’ve used that.

      I now find my morning routine is to play CBC Music – this will play the same World This Hour at the top of the hour. I turn this off at 9am when the programming shifts.
      From there I will play The World Report at some point for a total catch up (though its probably going to be out of date) and then periodically The World This Hour.

      Works pretty well… still would just love someone at CBC to come clean on all of it
      And Apple to clear out the entire Apple Home team and start fresh… such a waste of a potential product…

      • Thanks, Joe. I’m not sure what you mean by “CBC is no longer on the ‘news’ sources of Apple.”

        As I note, I do not include podcasts on my page, as they can be played directly (and, in my experience, work pretty reliably); I’m interested in commands that point to podcasts.

        It’s also difficult to know how much of the blame for imperfect implementation can be assigned to CBC, Apple, and/or TuneIn.

        • For the Apple News sources – this is what you would be to configure Siri to use if you ask ‘Siri whats the latest news’ or ‘whats my update’ and if configured to CBC it would play The World This Hour. Or CTV or CNN if thats what you’ve told Siri to set to.

          Nowadays though its just CNN or CTV as options.

          As you say – I think its better to be more direct and not rely on the Siri inconsistencies. I’d love to be able to just say ‘Siri whats the news’ rather than a tongue twister of ‘the world this hour’ – the experience of having Siri mis-listen to a command and start to play something completely random is ugh…

          • Yes, as I note “… switch to CBC news” is not currently working, although it did when tested in both September and November 2023, but not in October. September 2023 was the first time it had worked in months or years of being broken. The intermittent success of some of the commands is strange; every month there are seemingly random changes.

            Where did you find that CNN or CTV are options — is this documented somewhere, or was it via trial and error?

          • If you ask ‘Siri what are your news sources’ it will list them. I think I discovered it after having to do a thousand resets and at first – as Siri does – when I asked ‘the latest news’ it would prompt me that I can always change it and the options.

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