While listening to audio from Chinese learning textbooks or 新闻联播 is good for pronunciation, it also gets dry fast. It’s difficult to keep up regular listening habits when you’re not interested in the content. Below are some Chinese podcasts I like in no particular order. Some have long since ceased to produce new content, but the existing episodes are worth a listen. I know there’s a wealth of courses and podcasts on apps like 蜻蜓FM and 得到, maybe I’ll break that out into a separate post later. For now, all the podcasts below are available for free. If you have some recommendations of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.
故事FM features personal stories collected from listeners around China, narrated by the listeners themselves. Topics, curated by the host 爱哲, range from memories of 高考 to attending college in North Korea. The episodes 每个人的高考，都是一份独家记忆 or 三段租房经历后我开始明白，扎根北京是一个不太可能的梦 are both great episodes to get started on. Production quality and sound design is great, new episodes are added every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
大狗熊 is a multimedia designer who relocated from Kunming to Aukland in 2016. He often shares his takeaway from books and biographies he’s read recently (e.g. Hackers and Painters, Zero to One, 4-Hour Workweek), in addition to more practical content (e.g. 让意志力在1个月内升级、雾霾中生活指南). 大狗熊 is kind of like Tim Ferriss, in that he draws a lot from tech, philosophy, and MOOC culture. 阅读、科技、旅行, 生活可以很大; 对话、设计、学习, 思考不嫌太多… 一停就停不下来的哦！
Though new episodes stopped in 2015, Beijing-based Popup Chinese produced some great episodes. A rotating lineup of hosts discuss a wide range of topics ranging from impressions of America to Chinese parenting. Hosts share experiences from working/living in Beijing along with personal opinions. Despite being a “Chinese learning” podcast, very few of the episodes focus on explaining vocabulary or new material, the discussions assume that you’ll lookup whatever you don’t know. As a result, their conversations feel natural and fluid. “Beijing Fun Life“, “Memories of School Days“, and “Leaving Beijing” are great episodes to get started on.
Not technically a podcast, but Australia’s SBS produces some great news programming. Many of their stories feature Chinese-speaking experts that offer insight on recent world events as well as call-ins from Chinese-speaking diaspora living in Australia. They update their feed several times daily with programs ranging from news updates (less than ten minutes) to some long-form features (over an hour).