How to organize a list of podcasts/webcasts to consume?
July 5, 2017 4:51 AM   Subscribe

There’s a ton of great content out there nowadays that I have the best intentions of listening to, but I find it hard to ever get around to doing so. It’s not like my schedule is booked up — when I’m at home, I often have NPR on all day, and will listen to the same show twice if I’m not paying attention.

I’d like to use my listening time better. I get all sort of email solicitations for great podcasts and webcasts (stuff from my top professors at alma maters, Khan Academy, investing talks from Vanguard, E*trade, tech stuff from Recode and schools like Product School) that I keep in an e-mail folder, but I’d love to have some kind of player that I could switch on and listen to without giving it a ton of thought, like I do with NPR. Any suggestions? Is there an app I can use?

posted by Borborygmus to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This is pretty much what any podcast app will do. You subscribe to the podcasts that interest you and it will automatically download new episodes so there’s always something waiting for you. Most will let you set things like “just keep the newest episode” vs “keep everything until I listen to it,” and they usually have playlist features so you can queue things up.

I personally like Overcast which is for iOS devices & has a rudimentary web player. It has a feature called “smart speed” that unnoticeably trims silences so you’ll often finish an hour-long episode in 45 minutes without feeling like you’re listening to chipmunks.

What operating system or device do you use? That will help guide suggestions.
posted by bcwinters at 5:12 AM on July 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Pocket Casts.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:12 AM on July 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been pretty satisfied with Stitcher. Works on both iOS and Android. But as noted above, this is what any "podcatcher" client will do for you; there are many guides available for them. Here's one, here's another.
posted by informavore at 5:21 AM on July 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Overcast (and probably other players/apps?) will also let you crate "playlists" so you can line up a bunch of different podcast episodes and it will just play one after the other - great for what you're talking about, when you just want stuff on in the background while you're puttering around the house, but you don't want to have to keep selecting and hitting play after one is done. You do have to add the episodes to the playlist but after that it's just set and forget.
posted by misskaz at 6:23 AM on July 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

One issue with a podcast app on your phone is it won't play continuously from one podcast to another, or at least the one I use won't. You'll still have to manually switch from one podcast to the next, which might be more effort than you're looking for when you just want something to play continuously like a radio.

Alternatively, you could get an iPod nano and use iTunes to automatically download mp3s of your podcasts. (Other mp3 players and software would work too.) Create a manual playlist of the episodes you want to listen to, or create smart playlists of "episodes downloaded in the last three days" or whatever. Then, sync it up.

With this system, the effort would be frontloaded into updating your streams and syncing your iPod every so often, but once it's done, you can press play and won't have to think about it.
posted by Leontine at 7:20 AM on July 5, 2017

Pocket Casts will let you queue up your podcasts and play them continuously. AFAICT, you have to enqueue episodes manually, but it is super-easy to do so.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 7:26 AM on July 5, 2017

In Overcast, you can have playlists that queue themselves up automatically, adding new episodes as they come in. I have two main playlists that I use - Favorites, that queues up my 3 or 4 most favorite podcasts, and Kinda Favorites, with a few others. Everything else goes into the default All Episodes playlist. Whenever I'm walking the dog or taking the subway or whatever, I listen to Favorites until that runs out, then Kinda Favorites until that runs out, and then I usually manually pick something from all the also-ran podcasts. But I almost never run out of Kinda Favorites. It's possible that I subscribe to too many podcasts.

You can also manually reorganize the automatic playlists - like, I'll usually drag a short 5 minute podcast ahead of a longer one in the playlist even if it arrived later.
posted by moonmilk at 8:00 AM on July 5, 2017

Thanks for the recommendations! But what if some of the stuff I'm interested in isn't in a formal MP3 file -- if they're streamed like things on YouTube or in their own players, like this?
posted by Borborygmus at 9:31 AM on July 5, 2017

I couldn't open up your second link but here's an article on "How to Turn YouTube Channels into Subscribable Podcasts."
posted by Leontine at 10:02 AM on July 5, 2017

Pocket Casts will let you queue up your podcasts and play them continuously. AFAICT, you have to enqueue episodes manually, but it is super-easy to do so.

Under each podcast's settings, you can set it to automatically download episodes and add them to "up next."
posted by Preserver at 7:03 PM on July 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I use Huffduffer - it will take pretty much any web-hosted sound file and turn it into an item on your Huffduffer feed, which you can then subscribe to in any podcast app.

It's great for little snippets of NPR audio etc.

In most cases, if you open the network inspector (Cmd and I on a Mac in Safari or Chrome) in any decent browser, select the Network tab, then click 'Play' on whatever you are listening to, you'll see a sound file get loaded. You can right-click on that file URL and copy it, then paste it into Huffduffer. Some players load things in tiny chunks (BBC iPlayer radio for example) so you can't do this, but it works for most online players.

Not sure if Huffduffer works with Youtube videos, but there's various websites around that will convert a Youtube video into an mp3 file if you want to put it on your device manually.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:36 AM on July 7, 2017

« Older Giving notice of resignation to UK employers   |   UK White Goods: please recommend your kitchen... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.