Links and tipps and a Python program for automating the download of BBC 6 minute English.
An article by Murièle Weber in NZZamSonntag (25-Mar-2018) aroused my interest in podcasts. Here I summarize podcasts related to stories, news and learning English and add some tipps to listening and download.
- This American Life.
The stories take less than 60 minutes. Some stories are accompanied by a transcript.
If you want to download say the story "306" you can go directly to the mp3 file:
and get the transcript from
- Stuff You Should Know.
- Top 20 podcasts of 2017.
- BBC 6 Minute English. An excellent podcast from BBC to learn English. There is one 6-minutes-long lesson each weak accompanied by a transcript.
Here is a Python program to download BBC 6 Minute English. It can be adapted easily to download several BBC podcasts at once.
# Call downloadDate("180322") # to download the podcast from 2018-03-22 import sys import urllib.request import datetime from datetime import timedelta import time def downloadDate(d): baseAddress = "http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english/ep-" print("Downloading date " + d) address = baseAddress + d print("Address=" + address) f = urllib.request.urlopen(address) fileBytes = f.read() f.close() fileContent = fileBytes.decode("latin1") ix = fileContent.find("Takeaways") # pdf: ix_end = fileContent.find(".pdf", ix) ix_start = fileContent.rfind("http", ix, ix_end) url = fileContent[ix_start : ix_end] + ".pdf" ix_start = fileContent.rfind("_", ix, ix_end) title = fileContent[ix_start : ix_end] downloadName = d + title + ".pdf" downloadUrl(url, downloadName) time.sleep(5) # mp3: ix_end = fileContent.find(".mp3", ix) ix_start = fileContent.rfind("http", ix, ix_end) url = fileContent[ix_start : ix_end] + ".mp3" downloadName = d + title + ".mp3" downloadUrl(url, downloadName) time.sleep(5) def downloadUrl(url, downloadName): print("Downloading " + url) opener = urllib.request.URLopener() opener.retrieve(url, downloadName)
Favorite podcast apps:
- Apple Podcasts
- Overcast (for Apple devices)
- Google Play. I use this one on my Android phone to listen to BBC 6 minute English.
For learning English see also English with Lucy on Youtube
With so many interesting podcasts the only question remains: where to get the time to listen to them?