NPR turns comedy game show ‘Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me!’ into an Alexa and Google voice app

NPR is turning its popular game show program “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” into a voice application for smart speakers, including both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-powered devices. The new app lets listeners play along at home by answering the fill-in-the-blank questions from this week’s news — just like the players do on the NPR podcast and radio show, which airs on more than 720 NPR member stations.

Also like the NPR program, the new smart speaker game includes the voice talent of the comedy quiz show’s hosts, Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis.

To get started, you just say either “Alexa, open Wait Wait Quiz” or “Hey Google, talk to the Wait Wait Quiz,” depending on your device.

After hearing the question, you can then speak — or shout — your answer at your smart speaker to find out if you got it right.

The game is five minutes long and updated every week, NPR says.

In addition to bragging rights around your home if you win, game players get to compete for an offbeat prize — the chance to have the show’s talent personalize their voicemail, as well as hear their name announced on the air.

The new game was developed in collaboration with VaynerMedia’s internet-of-things-division, VaynerSmart, NPR notes.

It’s not NPR’s first foray into the smart speaker market, but it is its first game.

To date, NPR’s other voice apps have included news briefings, like Up First, News Now and Story of the Day (plus its variations like World Story of the Day; Business Story of the Day). NPR also offers a live radio app and its NPR One app, as well as dedicated apps for its Planet Money program.

NPR’s continual expansion into smart speakers has to do with the growing popularity of these devices. Its own Smart Audio Report says that 53 million people (or 21 percent of the adult population) now own one of these devices, and it wants its content there to reach them.