Should anyone ask, how to consume podcasts

Podcasts are my longform media. I consume lots of podcasts. They are my anti-television and an echo to the radio that would play back thoughtful BBC World service broadcasts from my father’s workshop in information-dark South Africa in the late 80s. Podcasts are the roughage in the titbit driven information diet. 

Enough with the analogies, you are here to know what and how. 

How to listen

Download Pocket Casts (iOS / Android). It’s about the price of a coffee. And when you consider that you get free upgrades year after year, great value. You could try all the others. The Doggcatcher, the built in Apple podcast (worst of them all) and BeyondPod. I’ve worked my way through them all and arrived at Pocket Casts.

Pocket Casts ensures you always have a supply of the podcasts you follow on your device. Freshly plucked from a WiFi access point near you so you aren’t using up valuable mobile data. Pocket Casts presents the podcasts beautifully, with nice show notes on an intuitive interface.

Other features I like:

  • The ability to play some podcasts faster (for example BBC podcasts can comfortably be played back at about 1.5x speed, and I’d play back a German podcast slightly slower.) Pocket Casts will also pitch adjust so your podcaster doesn’t sound like Mickey Mouse. 
  • Pocket Casts will auto-delete podcasts you have listened to, or always keep the five latest episodes. You can star episodes you have liked and they will be saved. I use this feature for saving some DJ mixes to listen to again when running.
  • Subscription and listening position synchronisation: subscribe on your phone. Listen on your tablet. Finish off on their webpage. Everything is synchronised.

NB: This is not a paid promotion for Pocket Casts, simply me having tried all the other podcast tools and finding Pocket Casts to be significantly better. 

What to listen to

My podcasts subscriptions can be imported into Pocket Casts.

Discovering your own favourite podcasts:

Most of my podcast grazing comes from personal recommendation. Occasionally hackernews will include a “what podcasts is everyone listening to”? AskHN.

Pocket Casts also includes a helpful “ Discover” tab. This helps you search for podcasts by name without needing to know the subscription URL. However, the discover tab could benefit from a:

  • “based on your current subscriptions you might like ….” and, 
  • “podcasts similar to this podcast” feature.

Specific favourite podcasts:

  • Storytelling: The Moth, where a bunch of storytellers get on stage and recount their lives: some sad, some humerous. All touching.
  • Fun: The Prarie Home Companion/The News From Lake Wobegon. "Where all the women are strong, where all the men are good looking and all the children are above average.“
  • Economics: I’m a big fan of Econtalks and the Economist. Econtalks dives deeper into a topic, The Economist talks around the weekly articles.
  • BBC podcasts: Most BBC radio programmes are available as podcasts.

Podcasts suggestions to simon@imaginator.com are always welcomed!

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