There are lots of podcasts out there for Spanish learners, but most of them are for beginners or are grammar-focused dialogues that don’t interested learners.
So, I decided to put together a list of my favorite podcasts for teachers to use with heritage speakers of Spanish, immersion classes or with more advanced learners. These are also great for out-of-class AP or IB test preparation. Some of the content listed below is produced for native speakers and some is aimed at language learners.
Narrative Spanish Podcasts
Tres Cuentos Bilingual Podcast
Tres Cuentos is a great example of narrative storytelling in a podcast. The episodes are long (~45 minutes) and dense and not aimed at children. Instead, they narrate some of the best stories and legends of Latin America. The episodes are available in Spanish and in English.
Teaching Tip: Compare and contrast the podcast of a legend with a written version.
Radio Ambulante is a production of NPR. It has seen 11 seasons and offers podcasts in narrative journalism form about unique topics in Latin America. Most of these episodes are quite long, between 45 minutes and an hour. There is a lot of academic language but the podcast incorporates interviews and other voices very well.
There is an app called Lupa that accompanies the podcasts and is specifically made for language learners.
Teaching tip: Use as a companion to a narrative text.
This podcast is aimed at intermediate Spanish learners. It is bilingual within the same episode, not repeating the same words, but reinforcing them so the listener doesn’t miss anything. Because of this, it would be great for heritage students who are taking a Spanish class for the first time. The transcripts are available online. Each season has a different theme, like climate heroes, customs from Spanish-speaking countries and art mysteries.
Teaching tip: Use to introduce different dialects to students who have not had much experience with formal Spanish. Duolingo could also be a good resource for doing podcast circles, where each group listens to a podcast on a similar topic during a themed unit.
Conversational and Cultural Spanish Podcasts
Notes in Spanish
Although the podcasts are outdated now, they are still very useful for learning about cultural topics in Spain. Ben is English and his wife Marina is Spanish, so there is natural conversation between a native and non-native speaker and some language comparisons as well. The episodes are 10-15 minutes long, making them the perfect length to cover in one class.
Teaching Tip: As they listen, have students write down words they hear that they don’t know, share them with the class, and see if the other students can define them.
Conversations in Spanish and Other Languages
This podcast is made up of slow but natural conversations between two native Spanish speakers. Themes are generally cultural, for example, meals in Argentina, coffee in Colombia or Christmas in Venezuela. Podcasts are long, around an hour each, but the level (intermediate or advanced) is noted in the description. There are some episodes in Portuguese, French or Italian also, but the majority is in Spanish.
Teaching Tip: The show notes contains transcripts and other educational material to help Spanish learners. Allow intermediate learners to read the transcript as they listen.
Spanish News Podcasts
Radio Ambulante’s little brother, El Hilo focuses on in-depth news stories from across Latin America and the United States. Recent topics have included bitcoin in El Salvador, drought in Chile, elections in Colombia and freedom of the press in Mexico.
Teaching tip: Use for an in-depth look at a topic or country that you are studying
News in Slow Spanish Advanced
This is a great way for learners to stay up to date about news in the Spanish-speaking world. There are different levels and different versions for Spain and for Latin America. The only drawback is that to access most of the content you need a paid subscription to access most of the content. Nevertheless, there is a minute or two of each episode that can be used for free and could be very useful for classroom use.
Teaching Tip: Have students listen to this podcast to choose a current event that they want to present to the class. Or, have students practice summarizing or finding the main idea after listening to the news.
Democracy Now! (en español)
Democracy Now! has a daily independent news podcast in Spanish. The broadcast/podcast is an hour long and covers the most important news of the day from a liberal, US perspective.
Teaching Tip: Have students compare an international story from this podcast with the same international story from a podcast based in another country and see if there are any differences in how the news is reported.
If you like these suggestions, read suggestions for getting books for your Spanish classroom library.