Podcasts are a fantastic way to practice your English listening comprehension. Watching films and TV shows are also very useful but the benefit that a podcast has is that you are not being distracted by the images or just relying on them to help you understand what is happening. Therefore, this forces you to concentrate on just listening which will in turn help to develop your skills in this area.
There are more than half a million podcasts available with over 30 million episodes and counting. These are in a number of different languages but the majority are in English. Interestingly, Spanish people are huge fans of podcasts - 40% of Spaniards have listened to one within the past month. This means Spain is the European country with the highest proportion of listeners in the world except for only South Korea.
Despite being around since the mid 2000s it has only been the past few years that podcasts have become more common place. This recent surge in popularity has in general been credited to the rise of the smartphone and the ease of accessing them through portals such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Stitcher. This means it is very common to listen to a podcast when travelling to work, walking the dog or at the gym as it can be done almost anywhere.
The real beauty of podcasts is that you can listen to what you want at the time that suits you, whereas with the radio you have to listen to it live. What´s more you can find podcasts for almost any subject you could think of. These range from current affairs to spirituality, celebrity gossip to health tips and just about everything in between. Here are a few of our favourites:
-Serial is an investigative crime podcast which focuses on different illegal acts over multiple episodes. This podcast broke multiple records in terms of number of downloads.
-Today in Focus is a daily podcast produced by The Guardian newspaper. It provides in-depth analysis of current news stories, combining insightful analysis with personal stories.
-The Spanish Football Podcast: Two English football journalists based in Madrid provide analysis of the weekend´s La Liga games and general stories relating to Spanish football.
-Woman´s Hour: This BBC Radio 4 programme offers a female perspective on the world.