A lot of students asked me which podcast they should listen to in order to practice their listening skills. I always suggest our terrific Italian public radio, since it has a lot of programs available.
First, IL COMUNICATTIVO: a program that talks about communication in society in a cynical way, and also warns how communication problems can result in confusion and mistakes (In fact, “cattivo” means “bad”). The speaker spells every word so it is very clear.
ALCATRAZ: A deejay on death row. This is a program about how society can be changed by rebellion against hypocrisy. It sounds very serious, but it is actually a fun program followed by many Italian radio fans. The host also dubs Italian for actors such as Jim Carrey, Kevin Spacey, Javier Bardem in American movies shown in Italy.
TRA IL DIRE E IL MARE: This is a new program about what happens in a lighthouse (“Faro”). It’s really fun – it’s all about a man who lives in a “faro” and what he sees. The title is a play on the proverb is “tra il dire e il fare c’è di mezzo il mare” that means literally “Between saying and acting there is the sea.” Figuratively it means “All talk and no action”.
COSÌ PARLÒ ZAP MANGUSTA: In this program Nietsche’s book Thus spoke Zarathustra is changed into a funny situation: a man tries to explain a philosophical theory of a philosopher in each episode, in only 10 minutes. Unfortunately there are always language misunderstandings with modern politics. The speaker speaks very fast in this one.
MEDITERRONI: This is a new entry in Radio RAI’s programming. We know “Mediterraneo”, the sea. But who does it know the word “terroni”? It is an offensive term for people from Southern Italy, because they love their land, the “terra”. This program is a pretext to talk about emigration and immigration.
OGGETTI DEL 2000: The famous journalist Beppe Severgnini talks about objects that Italians love in each episode.
Here the complete list of podcasts available on Radio RAI. There are sport and news programs, religious and cultural ones and so on. You can also check out games and news reports… like DECANTER or CATERPILLAR (“sono molto divertenti“), and stories about RIFIUTI (trash and the environment) in the show CHIODO FISSO… but in the meantime we can start with the ones I listed above: they could be a good challenge for your listening practice.