Tuesday, January 04, 2011

AAK! Wiki: Podcasts in Korean?

Dear Korean,

I'm studying Korean and it would help me tremendously to be able to listen to native speakers while I'm working/throughout the day. I have no idea what to search for to find recordings that are actually interesting to listen to. Do you have any recommendations for regularly updating, interesting podcasts in Korean, besides the KBS radio program broadcasts?

Mary H.

Dear Mary,

The Korean does not even own an iPod. (He is serious.) Assuming you are located in the U.S., the closest thing he can think of is Korean language radio channels. For example, AM 1660 is New York Radio Korea.

Readers, do you have any recommendations?

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.


  1. It really depends on your level and your interests. As with books about learning Korean, I’ve found that there is a real dearth of material once you get passed the low-intermediate stage and so you have to be prepared to make the jump to real-world material pretty quickly.

    There are several podcasts geared towards learning basic Korean available for free from the ITunes store. Just fire up ITunes and type in “Korean” and then have a look around. If you’re looking for something between “absolute beginning” and “native speaker” I’m afraid you’re out of luck. In general though, podcasts don’t seem to have yet attained the same level of popularity as they have in the West so selection appears limited.

    If you are at an advanced level, Japan’s NHK World Radio puts out a free daily 15-minute-long news roundup in Korean. The content is mostly world news with an emphasis on Japan. Head over to ITunes and search for “NHK World Radio Korean” to subscribe. The financial newspaper Hanguk Kyeongje also puts out a daily podcast called 읽어주는 한국경제 in which they read several articles from their print edition. You can find that, along with transcripts here:


    If there is a particular subject you are interested in, try typing hangeul into the ITunes search bar. You’ll find an assortment of podcasts of varying quality to choose from.

    Another option is to head over to Naver and run a search for 팟캐스트 and see what’s available.

    To TheKorean: there’s no need to own an iPod to enjoy podcasts. You can listen to them on your computer or other MP3 player.

  2. Here are a couple of sites that have Korean podcasts mixed in with a few English ones as well:

    http://tune.kbs.co.kr/ (podcasts from KBS radio)

    I can’t vouch for the quality or regularity of any of these.

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  4. http://talktomeinkorean.com/ is really great. The teachers are a bit awkward, but it's cute, clear and easy.

  5. Try survivalphrases.com for just that... survival phrases. I used that to help myself learn basics for our trip to Seoul last year. I'm no expert. I found I could say "thank you" over and over, and that was about it. However, had I put the time in, that site would have helped me with some basics that I could have built upon later. Oh, the woulda, coulda, shoulda game.

  6. There are some 'audiobooks' here as well, though the are really stories dramatized for radio. They can be a lot more fun than the morning talk shows.


  7. I use talktomeinkorean.com and koreanclass101.com. They have the best podcasts I've found, though, for beginner stuff there's probably out there. I'm usually looking for advanced dialogues...

  8. Personally, I used dramas as my listening practice. You're more likely to hear the rhythms and cadences of real conversation, plus you can learn a lot of every-day kind of vocabulary. News vocab/pace/tone is usually difficult (at least for me, anyway). You can even find dramas with subtitles to help you out, if you want to. I lived in Korea speaking Korean for a year and half a few years back, but when I went back this summer, I noticed a marked improvement in my ability to understand people.

    Of course, this all comes with certain drawbacks: it takes more time, you have to have a good internet connection to stream and/or download the files, you might get addicted and watch dramas instead of doing your homework or sleeping *cough* like me *cough*. But generally, they worked for me, plus they have lots of fun eye candy. ^_~ Even if you do decide to find some podcasts, they can be a good supplement. Or, if dramas aren't your thing, you can find other TV shows online, as well.r

  9. Try koreanclass101.com :) before, the podcasts we're all free but now I think only the recent releases. Still, great learning resources for all levels of the Korean learner ^_^

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  11. Mary,

    I recommend signing up (free) for the LingQ program. You can gain access to Korean podcasts there.


    Also, as a couple of others here have mentioned, KoreanClass101.com is a great resource. I have a paid subscription to that and I'm not aware of any of the content being free, but then again I tend to log in and go straight to the intermediate section without paying attention to most of the announcements. If you do end up having to pay, although it is pricey it is definitely worth it for the serious Korean learner.

    Besides that, YouTube can also be a good resource, although it's not a podcast per se. You can find good clips (if not entire episodes) of most major Korean shows.

    Hope that helps.

  12. There are several regularly updated Korean podcasts out in the iTunes Store. Or any language, for that matter. Use Google Translate and just search with a Korean word, you'll find something.

    Even President 이명박 had a video podcast for a while!

    These three are the most frequently updated (that I know of) in iTunes:

    Radio Free Asia in Korean.
    Updates twice daily (morning and afternoon) write the name in English in iTunes. ( http://streamer1.rfa.org/archive/KOR/Korean_podcast.php ) This RSS Feed updates daily, iTunes is a few days behind. They mostly report on inter-Korean issues, North Korean defectors' stories, and world politics. Not for beginners.

    Kim Yong Ha's podcast:
    Kim Yong Ha is a successful novelist in Korea, yet in his podcast he talks about the novels that he likes and reads excerpts from them. It's interesting: He's done episodes on Saramago, Roald Dahl (all in Korean) and of course other Korean writers. (Search for: 김영하의 책 읽는 시간). Updated once or twice monthly.

    The title of this podcast speaks for itself. The host, 섹시고니 is extremely charismatic and he even has a twitter account. His guests are all different: Film festival organizers promoting an upcoming festival, to strangers (both men and women, young and old) who talk candidly about their lives. Has a 19+ warning on most of their podcasts. 71 episodes so far and counting.(Search for 토크온섹스)

    These are all longer than 30 minutes (RFA can be hours long), but there you have it, interesting Korean content in iTunes. Hope this helps.

  13. Back in the 1980s I used to listen to the English Language program of Radio Korea International on shortwave radio. They used to have basic Korean Language lessons.

    They've moved all that to the internet now.

    KBS: Let's Learn Korean

    I just want to say thanks for this blog. I'm probably going to go on a Koryo Tour of North Korea to the see Mass Games this summer and this has been very helpful. I understand that it's South Korea oriented, but learning about the culture has been a great help.

  14. I agree with AnnMarie. Since watching dramas, my vocabulary has increased. And it's fun. :) TV was how I learned English, and it's how I'm relearning Korean.

  15. Another useful source is podcasts that Koreans use to learn English, for example http://podcast.soribada.com/subChannel.html?cate=edu&seq=574

    I find it helpful since you get to listen to Korean and understand what it means as well, since the English equivalent will be included.

    Although there are many free podcasts, there doesn't seem to be a lot of free audiobooks in the Korean Market. The only ones I know of require you to buy them online, and you need an account which requires a Korean social security number. It'd be great if there were more free Korean audiobooks online.

  16. If you sign up for 'olleh ebook' you can get some free content and some new release popular content which has a TTS function (text to speech). It's a bit unnatural as it's robot engine but it sounds like the automated voices you hear on the Korean telephone service. Anyway, that's kinda a hack for the lack of audio books available. Otherwise use 'Rhinospike'. It rocks.

  17. if you have Android phone, I suggest the app CastBox, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.podcast.podcasts. If your phone is in Korean, you can get all top Korean podcasts in the homepage of this app.


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