Best Spanish language tv/radio/podcasts?
October 2, 2012 3:28 AM   Subscribe

Recommend some good Spanish language media (TV series, online radio, podcasts etc) for my girlfriend to immerse herself in while she learns Spanish.

My girlfriend wants to surround herself with Spanish before future visits to Spain. It doesn't matter if you don't think they will be entirely intelligible to a learner as she really just wants to get used to hearing it. She has total fluency in her acquired second language and finds immersion like this very fruitful.

I am also aware this kind of question has been asked before (e.g. 1,2), but although I have taken note of a few suggestions from other threads (such as HBO's Epitafios), many of the podcasts and radio stations that were suggested are now broken links and even the BBC World Service doesn't seem to broadcast in Spanish these days (damn cuts!).

Basically, if you listen to or know of any good Spanish language TV series or online radio stations, just throw them in here and we'll see what sticks.
posted by knapah to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
There's something missing from your question: what does she like? What are her interests?

I can tell you that I listen to podcasts from Cadena SER and RNE and they're all of decent quality, but I mainly only listen to sports-related podcasts.

(Note: RNE's Radio 4 is a Catalan-language station.)
posted by smcg at 5:12 AM on October 2, 2012

TVE is probably a good place to start. They broadcast the Daily News Diary on their website along with plenty of other content. They even have some Catalan broadcasts if you want to impress the locals in Barcelona. The most popular TV series is Cuéntame cómo pasó on TVE.
posted by JJ86 at 5:41 AM on October 2, 2012

Response by poster: She says that she doesn't really care what they talk about, but that she isn't too interested in hearing sport podcasts or listening to pop-focused radio with lots of jingles and bad music.

She was also trying to remember a popular Spanish police series that she saw broadcast in Norway, so crime series might be a good place to start.

The point is mainly to hear the language spoken, rather than enjoying what they are talking about. Sorry if that leaves it very broad.
posted by knapah at 5:45 AM on October 2, 2012

I used to listen to coffee cup Spanish in the car. What about translated books in audio format through Audible?
posted by tilde at 5:54 AM on October 2, 2012

I've always liked Un Paso Adelante, the Spanish version of the 80s tv show Fame.
posted by elizardbits at 5:55 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

OK, in that case I like SER Historia, which is pretty consistently interesting.
posted by smcg at 5:56 AM on October 2, 2012

I think telenovelas are the best. The context is clear, the stories are silly, yet compelling and you learn some nice, florid language. Also, Univerison and Telemundo are on pretty much in every market now. The commercials are pretty good for the exact same reasons.

The only problem is that Mexican/Central American/South American Spanish is VERY different from Spain Spanish. If your girlfriend is going to Barcelona, then you're totally out of luck, as they speak Catalan there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:55 AM on October 2, 2012

Response by poster: The only problem is that Mexican/Central American/South American Spanish is VERY different from Spain Spanish. If your girlfriend is going to Barcelona, then you're totally out of luck, as they speak Catalan there.

Various regions of Spain and its territories are on the cards, but yes, we appreciate the difficulty on that front.
posted by knapah at 7:05 AM on October 2, 2012

The point is mainly to hear the language spoken, rather than enjoying what they are talking about.

Well, in that case, I do not know how she will keep her interest. It would help to be interested in the content, or else it will be a chore.

Telenovelas on Spanish networks such as Univision are what I would suggest. The dialogue is not particularly difficult and the stories tend to be enjoyable, especially if one tends to enjoy over-the-top fare.

For podcasts, I had a good impression of the Coffee Break Spanish podcast. Of note, it is based on European Spanish, so that would be a helpful factor for your girlfriend.

I think the difference between European and Latin American Spanish has been overstated. I grew up in a family of European Spanish descent (we even have some native Basque speakers), and Latin American Spanish poses no problem. They are mutually intelligible with each other. While there are some differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, these are not obstacles to mutual comprehension.

Barcelona is the frontline of Catalan separatism, but it is also the capital of Spain. Everyone there knows Spanish, so I would not worry about the regional issues. My family comes from the Basque and Galician linguistic minorities, and everyone speaks Spanish in addition to the regional language. You would have to get very, very far off the beaten path to find a person who cannot speak Spanish. The more likely, but still rare, occurrence would be a cranky Catalan who refuses to speak Spanish as a matter of pride. Luckily, such people are rare, and not being a Spaniard, your girlfriend would probably never be given such an attitude.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:20 AM on October 2, 2012

Bay area bilingual has a good student corner page that covers where to find spanish films, etc.

My favorite is slow news in spanish. It's about $10 a month, and you can listen to news and reports on topics that are reported at regular speed and slow speed. They also have transcripts which cover the vocabulary, and they cover a related grammar topic, like relative pronouns, and common expressions. The accents are from Spain. Here is a demo episode.
posted by anitanita at 7:21 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

And, I realized that I brain-farted on one point: Madrid, not Barcelona, is the capital of Spain. Don't I feel sheepish.
posted by Tanizaki at 2:57 AM on October 3, 2012

Here are the podcasts I have on my iPhone right now:

Ciencia al cubo
En la Historia
Geographia Para Llevar
Hablando con Cientificos
Praxis Publica
Radio ONU
RFI - Noticias de America
posted by univac at 11:40 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

My grandmother loved El Clon. You can watch it online.
posted by healthytext at 12:09 PM on October 23, 2012

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