Idol groups are expected to perform their standard duties as popstars and performers, but they are also expected to promote themselves and their brand and company. It's part of the job.
This means they are integrated heavily into advertising, commercial projects, game shows/variety shows, dramas, talk/interview shows, and on radio programs. Typically, the greater presence an Idol has in all types of media, the greater success they are considered to be. In the US, gameshows are usually the realm of ordinary people. In South Korea, it's all celebrities all the time, which creates an intriguing amount of access to the personalities of Idols and how they handle funny/strange situations.
Here on the MEDIA page we have a bunch of links to all those peripheral aspects of Kpop including news, television, and radio. There are also some major sites where Kpop fans congregate to discuss and share their resources, which is a must if you're interested in keeping up-to-date on the biggest stories and releases.
Plus, there are a handful of online shops to buy albums and fangoods from your favorite artists.
It's not unusual for Kpop fans to despise news sites for poor writing, sensationalizing scandals, and incorrect information, but here they are. Some are better about this than others. They can be a good source for general news, TV show recaps, music videos, and album releases.
Netizen-driven news blogs, which share translated comments, mostly from the Kpop critical website Pann.
WARNING: Articles and comments are often chosen for maximum clickbait, scandal, and buzz. Prepare to be angry lest ye enter here. Take ALL the grains of salt with you.
There isn't an equivalent in the West to Korea's music shows. Imagine combining Ed Sullivan, American Idol, and the VMAs into one solidly packed program.
Each show consists of all the most popular and up-and-coming Kpop artists performing their current song(s) during their promotional period, which typically lasts about a month. The charts and 'winners' are based on a rough combination of album sales and voting by fans.
From week to week you get to watch your favorite groups perform in ever-changing costumes and sets. And also get to hear the loud chanting and fan-support from the audiences.
Adjust one hour earlier for Daylight Saving Time.
Streams live every Thursday 6-7:30pm KST
1am PST, 9am GMT
Airs live every Friday 6:30-7:50pm KST
1:30am PST, 9:30am GMT
Airs live every Saturday 4-5:05pm KST
11pm PST(Friday), 7am GMT
Airs live every Sunday 3:30-4:40pm KST
10:30pm PST(Saturday), 6:30am GMT
YHY Sketchbook airs on every Friday on KBS2. An average of 3-4 musicians appear each week to perform and be interviewed by Yu Huiyeol, the MC.
Immortal Songs 2 is a show similar to American Idol or X-Factor except the contestants are not unknown. Each week the best vocalists in Kpop compete against each other to have the most show-stopping performance.
Show Champion airs every Wednesday on MBC. The current Idols perform and are ranked according to a points system and are awarded 'Champion' in various categories like 'most popular song' or 'best rookie'. MBC's youtube channel creates a separate playlist for each show so you might have to dig a bit.
KGNHD World is a streamup channel whose creator attempts to provide live streams of Korean TV almost every week—including the music shows above, variety shows like Running Man and Infinity Challenge, and major concerts/award shows. But since this is largely an illegal practice, many streamers like this get banned or taken down. If only the official channels would provide legal ways for an international audience to view their content!
DRAMAFEVER is the largest online video site for the distribution of international televised content. They stream movies, documentaries and TV shows on demand with professional subtitles. Content is ad-supported for regular users and available in HD for premium subscribers. (DRAMAFEVER's official Youtube)
The massive collection of dramas/movies at ViKi is diligently subtitled by a volunteer community
Running Man : Hosted by Yoo Jae Suk and the regular cast members: Song Ji Hyo, Kim Jong Kook, Lee Kwang Soo, Ji Suk Jin, Ha Ha, and Gary. Every week, Running Man tests the strength, endurance, and cunning of Korea's top entertainers through various missions and races. Airs Sunday on SBS.
Infinity Challenge : Hosts Yoo Jae Suk, Park Myung Soo, Jung Jun Ha, Ha Ha, Noh Hong Chul, Jung Hyung Don, and Gil Seong Joon undergo several challenges every week. From arriving early on set to composing original songs, the hosts scramble their way to the top. Airs Saturday nights on MBC.
Weekly Idol : The show is hosted by comedian Jeong Hyeong Don and rapper Defconn who use an informal and comedic approach to interviewing artists, giving them a chance to play around. It airs Wednesday nights on MBC Every1.
We Got Married : Celebrities are coupled together and temporarily live as if they are married. Every week is a new challenge as they work together to complete their missions and learn a little bit more about each other along the way. It airs on Sunday nights on MBC. There is also a Global Edition with international celebrities.
Strong Heart : Hosted by actors Shin Dong Yup and Lee Dong Wook, the show invites twenty celebrity guest stars to tell personal stories in the hopes of getting others to laugh or cry along with them. Listen to your favorite artists' most embarrassing or heart-wrenching stories in their own words.
Listen to RADIOLAB's Podcast episode, which shares insight on K-poperazzi culture.
(KPOPPY Admin note: This story is spun in quite a positive way. For the record, I despise Dispatch and paparazzi culture full-stop.)
Taking a cue from American and British paparazzi, a group of South Korean reporters started hiding in their cars and snapping photos of stars on their secret dates. The first-ever paparazzi photos turned the world of K-pop upside down and introduced sort of a puzzle … how much do you want to know about the people you idolize, and when is enough enough?
Jombly is a streaming radio webapp for K-Pop! It is free, has no ads, unlimited skips, and updates its song list daily with the top songs from Korean music charts.
Subscribe to This Week In Kpop on Youtube or to the podcast on itunes.
This Week in Kpop is a Kpop discussion podcast where we talk about the newest Kpop music video releases every two weeks. The video version of the podcast can be found on Youtube and the special audio version can be found on iTunes. We also do some reactions and work with Dramafever to release K-Drama LoLs (Lapses of Logic).
Founded in 2008, SEOULFM features a "listener curated playlist and great song selections that will surely delight your ears." The feed runs all day, every day.
Check out Seoul System radio for the best in Korean hip-hop and R&B.
Kwon and Sebastian play the hottest new tracks, from the classics from the still relatively young Korean hip-hop scene, and to the underground gems, rarely heard outside the Korean peninsula; whilst introducing a little about the history of Korean hip-hop, and discussing the current hip-hop scene in Korea."
For a more diverse selection from Kpop and Asia overall there is Big B Radio, which is pretty good about honoring listener requests.
You may also find success with last.fm, grooveshark, shoutcast, pandora, plug.dj, spotify, etc.
OmonaTheyDidn't is a Livejournal community where users post news, music releases, gossip, etc. It's always active and you don't need to register to view the posts. Omona is the perfect alternative to the major news sites. It's Kpop fans posting only what Kpop fans actually care about without a bunch of advertising and fluff.
If you're not familiar with Livejournal and are interested in joining to contribute to discussions or make posts, try this link for a mod post that includes instructions and rules.How to join omona
The Kpop community on reddit is growing all the time. These subreddits (and many more) are great for discussion, discovering new music, or getting help identifying a song. The demographic is more fanboy than fangirl, which is a unique case compared to most online Kpop communities.
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Try KoreanClass101 for a comprehensive site to learn the language.
The Talk To Me In Korean site has a lot of free material and resources.
A University student created K-Pop to K-Talk to help learn Korean through song lyrics. Weekly song studies break down the vocabulary and grammar in Kpop hits.
This image link is a 9GAG post, which will help you learn to read Hangul.
For help switching between Korean characters and romanized Korean words, try Hong's Hangul Conversion Tools.
When I first gained an interest in Kpop it was a struggle to find any way to legally purchase my favorite songs and albums. That wasn't very long ago, but the availability of Korean merchandise has drastically improved since then. There are a handful of online shops now and prices have dropped considerably. The sites linked below are good sources for physical albums, DVDs, and general fan memorabilia. You can also try ebay or Amazon, but there is a risk of bootlegged or non-genuine material, so purchase at your own risk. Occasionally you can find the biggest groups at major stores like Best Buy or HMV.
Personal note: I can only vouch for YESASIA and KPOPTOWN, which provided excellent service. I have no experience with the others.
Digital is a bit trickier. Korean sites like Melon or Soribada were the only sources for a long time and were painfully difficult to navigate for non-Korean speakers—not to mention the labyrinthine region restrictions. (Soribada English)
Itunes has really taken off in the last few years for digital Kpop sales. I always search there first. You might have to wait days/weeks for a release to show up, but many companies are jumping on board there.