February 29, 2024

This morning I was flashing back to my years (and years) in Ohio when I would listen to Spanish radio online daily, back when I was pining to move to Spain. Listening live would give me a sweet anxiety which would sometimes move me to near-tears.

My favorites included : Top Radio, Onda Cero, Onda Madrid, Candena Ser, Radio Nacional de España, Canal Sur, and, of course, the all-time favorite RadiOlé. The last one was “true Spain” to me, it was Traditional Spain. Although listening brought me a fair amount of criticism by Spaniards saying that only old ladies listened to RadiOlé I didn’t care. This is untrue, by the way, as I hear LOTS of gypsies listening to it in their cars. Apart from gypsies, however, few do, I admit. (I do, however, hear it sometimes coming from the houses of the old neighbor ladies so….) Radiolé, to be fair (to me), only plays a small percentage of old flamenco music. Most of it is recent or modern flamenco by today’s most popular flamenco singers.

The talk shows, debate shows, and “profile” shows on Cadena Ser and Radio Nacional de España were especially interesting as it was here that I could really focus on Spanish accents and hear HOW people talked. At that time, it’s true, I didn’t understand much but it helped a lot with my own Castilian pronunciation.

Now I turn on the radio and don’t feel much of anything, just searching for good (Spanish) music, Pop or otherwise. I usually pass-by any station playing English music – which is a good percentage of Spanish radio stations which mix English with Spanish songs equally. It IS still stimulating to listening to radio in Spanish. I’m fortunate to understand two languages pretty well. Surely a lot of Spaniards mumble along to the English pop songs, not really knowing what they’re singing. That was ME just a few years ago! I could sing some Spanish songs, not knowing their meanings until I would (sometimes) look-up the lyrics and translate it phrase by phrase. I must say that singing a number of memorized Alejandro Sanz and Ismael Serrano songs really helped not only with my pronunciation but also smoothly stringing-together Spanish words and phrases.

If I close my eyes, I can imagine myself in my Columbus (Ohio, USA) apartment or at work listening to live or recorded Spanish radio. It really took-me-away. My world was “ALL SPAIN”. I was there in that moment, sitting at my desk in Madrid, Spain – where I am right now, several years in the future.

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10 thoughts on “Listening to Spanish Radio from Spain

  1. my work mate, always want tune radiolé, for my a martyr. Will be a penance for something bad who I did in a past life??????

  2. Thanks for the reminder that dreams can come true! (and also the great tips on learning and perfecting Spanish) Your story is an inspiration for those of us who also long to be in Spain.

  3. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for your website, I can listen over here in California and I feel the same way you did back then. This year is especially hard for me as the desire to move to Spain is really huge right now!
    There is a new app for my new phone that has all stations from Spain too!

    1. Wow!! ALL the stations from Spain???? That’s GREAT! If only I had such technology back then. Once you can convince your other half to make-the-move you know you’ll always have a friend in Madrid – in MadridMan!!

  4. AGGGGGGGGG!!! other day listening to radiolé, sure,I go to heaven for this penance.
    By the way,I like “El barrio” but….. only

  5. In the beginning I was all into the Spanish music thing, not the flamenco so much, but I did like the Spanish pop music quite a bit…great for learning Spanish. Now I’ve pretty much gone back to the English music and listen to Kiss FM or 40 Principales, which does have the ocasional Spanish song thrown in for good measure.

    1. My Spanish friends do the same as you. They tend to SEEK the English music stations on the radio and many don’t have much respect for Spanish pop. Maybe they know something I don’t? I try to stick to Spanish radio just to help me “stay focused” on improving my Spanish. I started learning it late, afterall, and every little bit helps my quality of life on the streets of Spain.

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