Learning German can be fun and easy. You only have to find the right way to practice. German radio is a good start. Dance away to music while doing the dishes. Listen to the latest news on your way to work. Or turn off the TV and relax with a mystery radio play instead. Listening to native speakers without a visual clue will train your listening comprehension skills and, over time, build your vocabulary. It will even improve your accent. Best of all, in the time of the Internet, you don’t even have to be in Germany to choose from a broad variety of German radio stations. Nor do you have to wait all day for a show. We will help you find the best radio stations that can support your learning with live streaming and podcasts for every taste.
- Deutsche Welle
- Best music stations: From Star FM to Klassik Rock
- News stations: Deutschlandradio, ARD and Inforadio
- Radio plays: Tatort Radio Drama and so much more
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1. Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle (German Wave) has a clear mission. The German public radio broadcaster reaches people all over the world via TV and radio and in 30 languages with topics related to Germany and content for German learners. There are free German language learning podcasts for all levels from beginner to intermediate up to advanced learners to complement your language learning course.
2. Best music stations: From Star FM to Klassik Rock
Everything is better with music. That also applies to language learning. While listening to a song, you catch a word here and a phrase there and most of all, you enjoy it. If you find the right station for your taste. Here are some recommendations for the most popular music radio stations:
Note: Most of the songs on these stations will be in English. That doesn’t have to be a disadvantage to your German learning. Your language skills will benefit from the talk in between songs and the music gives you a break and time for the information to settle in.
3. News stations: Deutschlandradio, ARD and Inforadio
The news may be a bit difficult to understand. Especially when they are broadcasted with native speakers in mind. The topics covered don’t make it easier to follow the information: local politics, international events and breaking news all involve special vocabulary and a general understanding of what is going on in the world. Interviews with more than one person talking fast and maybe in dialect, interrupting each other, can be a real challenge. Embrace it. You can learn a lot from listening to the news and speed up your learning. Here are some of the most renowned news stations:
- Deutschlandradio: Deutschlandfunk (news), Deutschlandfunk Kultur (debates and documentaries) and Deutschlandfunk Nova (more general topics aimed at a younger audience)
- ARD Tagesschau: The radio news journal of the first German television program
- Inforadio: RBB 24 television news program on radio
Note: Most of the regional television programs also have radio broadcasts that will cover global as well as local and communal news.
4. Radio plays: Tatort Radio Drama and so much more
Audiobooks are a great alternative to TV and books. They’re something in between really. You don’t get visual clues and you can’t easily slow down or repeat to help you with your understanding. In short, listening to a story is a challenge. Even more so if the story isn’t just narrated but also acted out in a dialogue with different speakers and background noises. Radio plays come very close to real-life situations in terms of listening comprehension and are a good way to practice this skill. Adjust to your level by choosing between programs aimed at kids, easy entertainment or even classical literature. You will find plenty to download for free here:
- Soundtales Productions
- SWR2 Hörspiel
- WDR Hörspielspeicher
- NDR Hörspielbox
- Betthupferl (bedtime stories for kids)
- KiRaKa (radio broadcast of KiKa television for kids)
One German legend needs to stand alone here: The crime and mystery series Tatort has been brought to its fans every Sunday by ARD television since 1970! It is also available as a radio drama.
Best radio station to learn German
The best radio station to learn German is the radio that you like. There are many German radio stations to choose from, with German public radio taking the lead. You can listen to live-streaming or free podcasts and more via the stations’ websites. Choose according to your level, mood and time from music, news and radio plays to fit some extra practice in. Mix between challenging content and relaxing entertainment for best results and don’t forget to enjoy. After all, you are listening to the radio!
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Sandra lives in Istanbul, together with her kids, cat and dog. As a historian she thrives exploring this ancient city with her two- and four-legged loved ones. Together, they also love to go on adventures through all of Turkey and its neighboring countries. The perfect opportunity to put all the language learning into practice. If she’s not on the road, Sandra is busy putting her experiences into writing as a freelance copywriter for the travel industry and everything related to language, culture and family. Her particular interest lies in providing information on animal welfare with her website contentrundumstier.de.