The Best Free Online Spanish Television Channels & Radio Stations Accessible from Abroad
Here are some of the Spanish TV channels and Spanish radio stations that I use regularly over the net and thus recommend to you.
SPANISH LANGUAGE RADIO STATIONS (RECOMMENDED)
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The radio links pertaining to RNE (the Spanish public radio broadcaster) sometimes play up when used outside of Spain. If this happens you might find that using the Hola browser extension will help. I will leave the moral choice to you.
As an alternative you can try some of these selections of Spanish language radio stations sorted on a country by country basis. Going from station to station is quick and pain free making for enjoyable station hopping. I recommend Mexico as good places to start. If you are learning Spanish then once you choose a country look for the oldie romantic stations, news/talk stations or even the religious stations. The latter are the easiest to understand if you can take the preaching. (Santa Maria...etc)
SPAIN - (Music and Talk)
This is one of Spain's national public radio stations and is geared for music lovers. It is one of my favourites because it has the right balance between quality talk and quality music. (about 30% talk and 70% music) The word 'Eclectic' just doesn't do it justice. I'd say the music is 60 percent anglophone, 30 percent Hispanophone, and 10 percent francophone (with the occasional Portuguese song thrown in for the hell of it.) They often do thematic sessions on different styles of music and so you'll hear an hour of punk followed by session of jazz, the next day it'll be country western followed by reggae topped off with a session on The Hives. Occasionally it will do evenings on flamenco music, or even an evening on the arts and farts (film, theatre, literature) that might get a bit hardcore for you.
ADVANTAGE: If you are just starting out in Spanish this is the one for you. Why?
(1) The amount of talk is just about right: not so much that you switch off through frustration (being that you only understand about 10 percent of the words) but enough that it is still having a significant positive effect on your listening skills. When it switches to the music, the said music is so interesting that you could listen to this station whether you gave a damn about the Spanish part or not.
(2) As a beginner, have you ever had the feeling that listening to Spanish produces same effect as being in close quarters to a man firing off an ak-47 inside a lift(elevator) doted with the hallucinating combination of an inexhaustible supply of ammunition and cramp in his trigger finger. Don't worry, your not the only one, and so thank the gods as this radio station is your saviour. The presenters are ccccchhhiiiilllllddd out man! There is one guy who clearly smokes a lot of ganja(pot) and the overall effect is a Spanish that doesn't give the beginner migraines.
SPAIN - (Mostly Music)
1 fm Total hits en Español (Younger audience)
Oh my! Am I really about to admit that I listen to this station? And yet I DO! (guilty pleasure) and YOU SHOULD TOO! What is it? Well, its jingle gives it away:
'lo mejor de nuestra música' =
lo mejor[the.best] de[of] nuestra[our] música[music]
Ok, it may not be the best of 'their' music but it certainly is 100% 'their' music. Yes, an hispanophone only music station and popular at that. It is Spains second most popular music station (2.3million listeners.SOURCE: Prisa Radio), only beaten by 40 Principales. (this latter is of no use to you, containing minimal amounts of Spanish)
Cadena Dial is about 90% music with a little bit of talk going on (particularly in the mornings) and the music is, well, erm, kinda gushy, kinda easy listening, kinda pop, hardly flamenco, nor reggaeton (phew!) and yet very Spanish/Hispanic with at times subtle latin beat influences in some of the music. Let's put it this way, the Americans have Country the Germans Schlager, the French les Chansons Francaise, leaving the Spanish with the one and only Cadena Dial. (it's not really a type of music but it might as well be)
Why is this station good for you? Three reasons.
The first reason is that the Spanish sung here is fairly clearly understood, and draws from all over the Spanish speaking world giving you a taste of all the different accents.
The Second reason is that with in the same week they will probably play the same 500 songs over and over again. This sounds hellish, but nevertheless due to this very fact the songs will quickly start to leave imprints of their words upon your grey matter even before you know what those words mean and this is extremely useful in language learning; your next step will be to try and find out what those words mean by going on youtube and watching the lyrics videos for example. You will be doing a lesson without realising it.
The third (and most important) reason is that this station will help you better understand a big part of Spanish/Hispanic culture; learning a language is almost impossible without first adopting a bit of the culture it belongs to.
NOTE: Anglophones may not take to this music at first but give it many sessions before giving up. It's like 'country western' music: you may have a lifetime of avoidance but if your forced to listen to it over a five hour long car journey, you sort of get it by the time you step out the other end.
SPAIN - (Mostly Talk)
I don't know whether it is just my imagination but the Spanish spoken on this station has always seemed to me to be the most suitable for beginners. Perhaps it is the fact that it is made for Hispanophones listening in from all around the world and so they speak more clearly knowing that their audience is disparate and may also be not always be fully fluent. Wikipedea said that it has an audience of 80 million listeners. Let me repeat, 80 MILLION LISTENERS! The content is mostly talk with the occasional song or two.
NOTE: Tends to have a compressed sound to it on my radio but not to the degree that it becomes unworkable as a language learning tool.
SPAIN - (Mostly Talk)
Wikipediea: "Generalist channel with a broad spectrum of mostly speech-based programming."
Surprisingly, I haven't listened to this one much as it doesn't appear on my internet radio post. Have listened to it on the PC and I will say this: It is certainly better suited to Spanish learners than Cadena Ser (see below), the language being easier to understand.
SPAIN-(24 Hour News)
What more can I say. Well this: there is a myth that more formal equals more difficult. This is not true. You will find that the cheezy soaps are harder to follow than this station. Why? formal orientated programs (like, news, documentaries, invesigations, political shows etc) tend to be better and more clearly spoken, employ less regional accents, use fully formed sentances, have slower speech, but the real bonus is that the language involved tends to contain more words with greek or latin roots. Wtf? I hear you cry! Well, these words tend to exist in most european languages, including English. Once you unlock the code (an example: the -cion for -tion endings) then half the work will be done for you. Just look at these:
Economy[economía], reduction[reducción], complication[complicación], million[millón], defense [defensa], state[estado], minister[ministro].
You can easily imagine all these contained in one single sentence in a political radio broadcast. So the message is, more quality and less trash (at least to start with)
SPAIN - (Mostly Talk)
I left this one to last for a reason. On the one hand, being the most popular radio station in Spain it has high cultural significance. On the other, between the crackly phone-ins and the presenters who appear to be on 'speed' half the time, you are not going to enjoy this one as a bona fida language learning tool. Leave it till later. Much later.
SPANISH LANGUAGE TELEVISION CHANNELS (RECOMMENDED)
The Public Owned Channels (SPAIN)
NOTE: only the first one has 100% none blocked broadcasting.
These three are the public funded channels, a bit like BBC 1 and 2 plus BBC 24hr news . Well, not really.
UPDATE: I am starting to watch more and more of these three as a direct result of the problems I'm currently finding with the Atras Player (see below) and I'm starting to ask myself what it was I had against them in the first place. The picture quality is pretty good and it functions a lot better than a lot of other hispanophone channels out there. In essence, it is more than usable and watchable.
And then I remember the one glaring problem with the first two within this group and that is the amount content blocked from the international audience. Some evenings there are blank screens on these two right up till midnight. (though thankfully rare) None-the-less, it is still worth keeping their site open in a tab as the quality of the content remains good, but more importantly, being public and national, these two remain the best peek through into European Spanish culture available on the internet.
NOTE: when you get the dreaded orange screen 'lo siento...' on both, switch to the 24 hour news channel which never gets blocked.
The Private Owned Channels (SPAIN)
UPDATE: it seems that the Antena 3 and La Sexta links now only work if you have the Hola browser extension in use. I shall leave the moral choice to you.
La Sexta and Antenna3 come from the same company and they certainly feel the same whilst having separate contents. I like these two a lot. They may produce a lot of 'trash' tv at times but this said trash tv still tends to have appeal. In comparaison to all the other hispanophone channels availible on the internet these two seem the most modern with the highest production values though at times a bit 'bling bling' if you ask me: emphasis on sensational investigations rather than documentaries of the BBC genre. The evening news each day is very watchable. Some american series are available like The Mentalist and some spanish made ones also However, what is really great about these two is their Atras Player. This produces an extremely high quality picture and sound so that it stands head and shoulders above any other Spanish speaking station (some of the latin american ones are just dreadful) and the fact that the sound is good is an important factor if your learning Spanish. The player functions fast and without problems and so pausing one of them, pressing your tab to the other, and pressing play, functions almost like switching real tv channels.
CONTENT: I can't speak for their daytime tv but the evening stuff (if you live in europe - time zones and that) tends to...
TO BE CONTINUED ...
AND THE OTHERS...?
NOTE: I was thinking of adding more channels to this list, but to be honest, the rest of what is available on the internet is just pap, absolute PAP!. The players of the Latin American stations are mostly unwatchable and when they are you kinda wish they weren't. I've about 12 other tv bookmarks from around the Spanish speaking world that I've used once or twice just to confirm my doubts and that's about it. If you want to confirm for yourselves go to wiiTV and search by country. But the chances are that you have already, and have come face to face with a mountain of pap (you do know what I mean when I say 'pap' don't you) and in consequence have arrived here looking for someone who has already done the sieve work.
In the words Wham, 'I'm your man.'
HOW TO WATCH THESE CHANNELS
For ease of use I advise you to create a new bookmarks folder in your bookmarks manager (see how to do this at bottom of this list) and call it Spanish tv. Now make three bookmarks, one for La Sexta, one for Antena3 and one for the La 1 de TVE (you can easily switch from La 1 and La 2 from this same page) Why do this? Often, these channels have content that they haven't the right to show to an international audience (usually films that presumably get sold to each Spanish speaking country separately or adverts featuring celebrities that these same celebrities don't want seen in their own countries). The result is a frequently occurring blank screen with an apology, and so you'll need all three bookmarks open in three separate tabs so that you can quickly switch from one to the other when this happens. Being able to set them up in different tabs by double clicking on each bookmark at the start of each telly watching session makes this very convenient. NOTE: you don't need a special 'illicit' app to watch these channels, which is nice, considering that the latter two are paid for (I presume) by the Spanish taxpayers.
Will come back and do a run down of the regular programmes to watch on these channels... eventually.
SPANISH SONGS/ARTISTS OF INTEREST
~ Suerte / (LT)
~ Tú / (LT)
~ Te Dejo Madrid / (LT)
~ Las De La Intuicion / (LT)
~ Que Me Quedes Tu
~ Octavo Día
~ Si te vas / (LT)
~ Pienso En Ti
~ Estoy aqui / (LT)
~ Ciega, sordomuda / (LT)
~ Rabiosa / (LT)
~ Addicted To You / (LT)
~ Ojos Así / (LT)
~ Hay Amores
~ Loca / (LT)
~ Te Aviso, Te Anuncio
Julieta Venegas (***)
~ Me Voy ~ Eres Para Mí (***)
~ Limon Y Sal (***)
~ Andar Conmigo
~ Algo Está Cambiando
~ Bien o Mal ((this is the official video I want you to see the models farting butterflies!!)))
~ En Que Estrella Estara
~ Voy a tumbarme al Sol (***)
~ A Ti Te Dio Por Reir
~ Tenía Tanto Que Darte
Jesse & Joy
~ La de la Mala Suerte
~ Aqui Voy
~ Me voy
Fito & Fitipaldis
~ Acabo De Llegar
~ Soldadito Marinero
~Hijo De La Luna (***)
~ Me Cuesta Tanto Olvidarte
~ Sin Ti No Soy Nada
~ Días De Verano
~ Mis Amigos
~ Escapar (with Moby)
~ Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor
~ A Dios Le Pido (***)
~ Gotas de agua dulce
NOTE: FOR A VERY COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF LINKS WITH REVIEWS OF FREE INTERNET BASED RESOURCES GO SEE: Howlearnspanish.com. I VOUCH FOR ANDREW'S METHOD OF LEARNING A LANGUAGE: UNBEATABLE. NOTE: I FOUND THE LINK AFTER DOING THIS PAGE... (FACE-PALM)