A Simple Way to Listen to International Radio!

When I was in middle school, I was really interested in getting a shortwave radio.  In case you don’t know, a shortwave radio can pick up radio broadcasts, shortwave broadcasts, from all over the world.  Here are some examples:

With this kind of radio, a listener can tune in to shortwave stations in countries thousands of kilometers away and enjoy various regions’ music, talk programs, and news broadcasts.  I never did get my hands on such a radio, and I’m not even sure if shortwave is a popular hobby nowadays.

Nevertheless, I was extremely excited to learn how easy it is to listen to radio broadcasts from around the globe with just a computer or smartphone and an internet connection.  It’s no secret that a vast number of radio stations make their broadcasts available online and have done so for many years.  However, it might be a bit troublesome for the average person to start with a search engine and then jump from website to website in hopes of finding a radio station that they enjoy.  The good news is that there are plenty of smartphone/tablet applications (for iOS or Android) that make it simple to explore radio broadcasts from all corners of the earth.  One app that I particularly like is called Radio Garden.

For iOS (iPhone or iPad)


For Android


This app enables you to instantly jump from station to station simply by rotating a globe (like on Google Earth).  When you open the app, you’ll find countless green dots, each of which represent a city.  Then, when you tap such a dot, you can immediately listen to radio stations that are based there.

I have only used the Android version of the app, but I’m quite happy with it so far.  I’m recommending it to you, because it might a good way to practice your English listening.  You could, for example, seek out talk radio programs in various English-speaking countries in order to hear a wide variety of English accents.  You could also enjoy listening to all genres of music from around the world.  Finally, if you enjoy having music in the background when you’re studying but are easily distracted by songs’ lyrics, you could look for music with lyrics in another language!

One thing I should point out is that, unlike with podcasts, you can’t pause live radio programs or rewind them to hear what you’ve missed.  Therefore, it might be a real challenge to comprehend everything you hear.  Still, I think radio is an exciting way to gain exposure to natural language use in the real world!  Give it a try sometime!!

Best of luck in your studies!



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