IELTS Speaking: radio program


Here is a recent IELTS Speaking Part 2 topic question:

A radio program you that you find interesting.
You should say:
        what the program is
        when and where you listen to this program
        what the contents of the program are

And explain why you like this program.

The following sample and comment are given by an IELTS examiner that I work with.

Here is his scripts:
There’s a radio interview and discussion show that I really like called ‘Late Night Live’. it’s on the ABC, that’s the government broadcaster in Australia. The ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has a lot of channels, they have tv channels and radio stations. I really like Radio National., which is their sort of program and one of the good things on that program they have a show called ‘Late Night Live’ as I said which is hosted by an older Australian called Phillip Adams.

Adams used to work in the advertising industry and he was also a newspaper columnist a long time ago, he used to write opinion pieces for Australian newspapers. I remember reading him when I was younger he was very colourful with left of centre political views and. He was very outspoken about being an atheist., I mean, a person who didn’t believe in God which is kind of a controversial topic in Australia, but, umm other people who didn’t believe in God liked to read what he said. He has always been sort of humorous and intelligent. I like his show because he has very interesting guests – most media is under a lot of time pressure but Phillip Adams really lets his guests take their time and say what they have to say, and most of the guests are experts on the topic , so it’s very interesting. Some of the shows are about politics, some of them are about particular countries.

The music is nice too, it’s quite funny.. He uses an Aussie composer called Elena Katzachernin, and she writes very whimsical pieces, for his theme music. I listen to the show on the radio when I’m driving late at night. and I also take it in via podcast when I’m riding around on my bicycle.

Comments – Fails

Fails: ‘particular country’ is a bit boring and doesn’t tell the examiner anything about those countries. I could have said ‘less well known countries’ (Australian media spends a lot of time talking about the USA, the UK and Europe in that order. Adams is an exception to this rule). Even ‘foreign countries” would have been better.

I know, none of my students are into Radio National or Late Night Live! However, I wanted to be realistic and this is the first thing that came to mind. I’ll try to make it useful to you.

The first thing to note is that I don’t just talk about the show; I also talk about the company that broadcasts it and the sort of shows they have. So if you get a topic like this and feel stuck, think about the context. Ask yourself – who likes this? Why is it popular? What was its history? If you are going to talk about an easy listening music station in China that you don’t know much about, you might say that it’s popular with young people, in a particular city, talk about how long stations like that have operated in China, that kind of thing.

Notice too that I talk about religion a little. A lot of students ask me if it’s okay to discuss religion. I think if it’s relevant to the topic and you discuss it in a polite way, it’s okay.
So it would sound a little stupid if I’d said:
- He was an atheist, like all sensible people. I can’t wait until the last church is turned into a parking lot. or….
- He was an atheist, so he’s certainly going to hell forever.
…instead, I explain what an atheist is (so I’m earning my money*), and explain the context – ‘it’s a little controversial’.

Comments – useful expressions

Notice useful expressions:
- under time pressure
one of the good things on that station is…. This is very simple, but much better than just saying ‘I like Late Night Live’
- He was very colourful. This is a more interesting way of saying that someone was interesting. Adams has lots of opinions and doesn’t mind having an argument, so he’s colourful.
Outspoken – someone who has strong opinions and supports them very clearly
hosted – if someone is the presenter on a chat or variety show, they are the host and they host the show.

2 Comments IELTS Speaking: radio program

  1. Vinni

    Mr Jeffrey,
    I am a big fan of this site because of the resources provided. your suggestions, latest materials, methodology to describe things helped me a lot with my IELTS preparations, as i have exam on this 12 september.



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