Podcast management
April 1, 2015 10:19 AM   Subscribe

1) What is your podcast management strategy? I need a system that works better than what I'm doing now. 2) Is there an app that will let me organize/subscribe to podcasts or create playlists on my Mac and then sync that with my Android?

I'm currently using BeyondPod. It's often recommended as one of the top podcast managers for Android, but I find it really difficult to work with. I'm much more proficient on the Mac than on the phone, so I ideally would like to manage podcasts from the computer, even though I most often listen to them from the Android. I would prefer to stay away from iTunes, if possible.

Technical considerations aside, I also need a better system for managing the actual listening-to of podcasts. I've added a bunch of new ones lately, and I'm trying to get into some sort of rhythm or pattern when it comes to actually listening to them -- otherwise, they just pile up.

Do you have a schedule for listening to podcasts? Do you simply listen to new ones as they become available? How do you manage the listening, as opposed to the organizing?
posted by mudpuppie to Technology (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

If you were using an iPhone this would be so easy.

I've had zero luck finding a decent way to do this since I jumped to Android.
posted by Oktober at 10:22 AM on April 1, 2015

Best answer: I have been using and loving Pocketcasts. I haven't played around with organizing but it seems like they have the tools to do that.
posted by KernalM at 10:44 AM on April 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding PocketCasts, I went through this same thing a few years back and haven't looked back since finding it. I think the Android app $2.99, but it's pretty well worth it.

As a bonus, they now have a web player that should allow you to perform some of the subscription and organization tasks from your browser. Everything syncs between the mobile and web apps, and it works pretty nicely. That also costs money but has a 14-day trial.
posted by seldomfun at 10:52 AM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: PocketCasts + their web player looks to be just the thing. I was also able to easily export my feeds from BeyondPod into PockestCasts, so I'm ready to start organizing. Thanks!

Would still like to hear how people manage the listening....
posted by mudpuppie at 10:55 AM on April 1, 2015

Re: 2), Gpodder will do what you ask (download on your computer and sync to your mobile). On Android, I'd recommend listening on a dedicated audiobook player like Mort to take advantage of bookmarking and keeping your collection separate from your music (if you so desire).

I did this for several years, and then 1) Pocketcasts.
posted by quarterframer at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2015

Manage the listening: well, you're talking about literally hours and hours of content, and it's mostly unskimmable, so if you don't have hours and hours, you'll have to choose what to listen to.

I listen to podcasts in the car (aux jack, bluetooth, or phone-in-the-cupholder, depending), while walking the dog, and while cleaning. I try to listen while I'm working, but I usually lose the thread of the podcast as I concentrate.

I'm not a completist. I just pick a recent episode of something that appeals to me. Periodically (when the iPhone complains about storage) I'll go through and delete a bunch of old episodes.
posted by troyer at 2:04 PM on April 1, 2015

I used to try to keep up with a few choice podcasts and make sure that I didn't get a backlog. It got to be a bit of a chore and I missed the enjoyment factor of just jumping into a show.

Now, I go through phases of what I want to listen to for various parts of the day so I add new ones when I find them and ignore some of my favorites, knowing I can always cycle back around when I feel like it.
posted by Merinda at 4:24 PM on April 1, 2015

I nth Pocketcasts. I've been using it for a few years now and did some research to choose it at the time. Well worth the money, and usually I don't pay for apps.

For management, I listen while walking or taking transit to work, occasionally at work, while driving, and sometimes in the morning while getting ready. I also listen to all podcasts at more than regular speed - most at 1.3X and a few at 1.4X. I started at 1.1X and worked my way up. At first it was a bit strange, but now it feels weird to hear them at normal speed. I also listen to probably 10-12 weekly podcasts, so I have quite a bit of material to get through.
posted by sinical at 8:12 PM on April 1, 2015

I also listen to all podcasts at more than regular speed - most at 1.3X and a few at 1.4X

More than obviously, you have every right to do this. And it's very pragmatic. But it gives me hives.

Okay, the actual answer: there are people who subscribe to X number of shows and always listen to them, assuming an unheard episode is always just one you'll get to later. I'm not that person. I'm the person who subscribes to 5X number of podcasts and listens to whichever X of them appeal at a given moment. One important step, for many people, is giving yourself permission to build a bigger library than you'll ever listen to and just choose from what you have.

By the way, the fact that both those kinds of people exist and you can't tell based on a count of downloads how many of which kind of person downloaded the show is one of the many, many challenges in podcast metrics.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:06 PM on April 1, 2015

Here is my current listening methodology. I keep a text file like this (well, not just like this...this is it exactly copied and pasted into the thread)


Current Archive:
Blank on Blank
Comedy Bang Bang
In Our Time
Jordan Jesse Go
Judge John Hodgman
JV Club
The Moth
Mike and Tom Eat Snacks
Never Not Funny
Roderick on the Line
Wolf Den
World Book Club
You Look Nice Today

Bill Don’t Lie
BS Report
Hollywood Handbook
Slate Daily
This American Life

The Biggest Mistake
History of Rome
On Cinema
Pod F. Tompkast

9/17/13: finished 4/12, applied 7/12. 1386 total podcasts.
10/12/13: finished 5/12, applied 8/12. 1373 total podcasts.
11/10/13: finished 6/12, applied 9/12. 1383 total podcasts.
12/11/13: finished 7/12. 10/12 too big to apply. 1381 total podcasts.
1/7/14: finished 8/12, applied 10/12. 1378 total podcasts.
1/31/14: finished 9/12, applied 11/12. 1323 total podcasts.
2/28/14: finished 10/12, applied 12/12. 1294 total podcasts.
4/5/14: finished 11/12, applied 1/13. 1357 total podcasts (added remaining NNF seasons)
?: finished 12/12, applied 2/13. ? total podcasts remaining.
5/30/14: finished 1/13. 1169 total podcasts remaining (removed arts and ideas).
7/26/14: finished 2/13. 1227 total podcasts remaining.
9/9/14: finished 3/13. 1206 total podcasts remaining.
10/10/14: finished 4/13. 1223 total podcasts remaining. (added Serial and Scriptnotes)
12/26/14: finished 5/13, 1227 unplayed (added Hollywood Handbook, listened to complete Scriptnotes and Hollywood Handbook archive)
1/27/15: finished 6/13, 1254 unplayed (removed Software Engineering Radio)
2/24/15: finished 7/13, 1135 unplayed (removed Partially examined life)
3/23/15: finished 8/13, 1137 unplayed (added Bill Don’t Lie)

'Current' archive podcasts are those that I listen to as they come out. 'Current Archive' podcasts are those that I listen to month-by-month in the past. You can see down at the bottom of the list that I finished podcasts from August 2013 on March 23rd, so I am currently working my way through all of the podcasts in my 'Current Archive' from September 2013. For 'Current', I have the 10 most recent set to automatically sync to my iPod from iTunes. For current archive, I manually construct a list of all the podcasts in the current archive, and apply the month to a playlist in iTunes. I'll take the time when I finish a month to review whether I really want to be listening to each podcast going forward.

I'll listen to anything 'Current' first, then return to the archive. As you can see, I get through about a month of archive per month and will never catch up at my current pace.

I used to be a hardcore completist about it and skipping any podcasts would make me very uncomfortable. I give myself more permission to skip around these days-I don't like when they play M.A.S.H. on the JV club and will stop episodes at that point; Slate has added a ton of podcasts lately and the tv/movie/book spoiler specials and anything with Pesca don't interest me, there are more things like that where I've relaxed the rules for myself. Obviously the podcasts in the 'Current Archive' have to be pretty evergreen. And the bar is very high to make it into the 'Current' category; I love Too Beautiful To Live but it's not evergreen enough to listen to in the archive--always very topical, and it comes out too often for me to keep up with.

I've listened to podcasts regularly since 2007 or so and I've gone through a few different listening plans; this one seems to work for me now but I'm sure I'll change it at some point. I hope this has been helpful in some way!
posted by Kwine at 12:48 AM on April 2, 2015

I have a similar scheme to Kwine that I have a series of podcasts that I want to listen to near when they come out (mostly news, current events and the like but also things like Serial that benefit being part of the conversation). I also have way, way, way, way more podcasts that I am subscribed to that could be charitably refereed to as Evergreen. Good examples of these would be the Memory Palace and 99% Invisible. An episode of the Memory Palace recorded years ago is still just enjoyable today.

Where my system differs is that I make one giant podcast playlist that mixes up different genres, length of episodes and styles of my evergreen podcasts. I work through each podcast's episodes in order but I only add 1 to 5 episodes of each into this playlist. The amount of episodes I add depends on how interested I am in the subject, how long the episodes are and how frequently they come out.

Then for my podcasts that I want to listen to closer to when they come out, I artificially float them near the top of the playlist. As I listen to an episode of an "Evergreen" podcast, I delete it and add the next episode of that same podcast at the back of the playlist.
posted by mmascolino at 7:32 AM on April 2, 2015

I use Podcast Republic. Feature-rich, and free (ad-supported; ads can be removed with in-app purchase).
posted by zakur at 4:43 PM on April 3, 2015

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