Best Podcast Apps for Radio-Style and Library-Style Listening

After months of using Shifty Jelly's Pocket Casts app for the iPhone (see earlier post) I find it's best for managing podcasts "radio-style" that you want to follow regularly. I couldn't find a way to download a particular episode for a podcast without simultaneously subscribing to that podcast's feed. Nor is Pocket Casts great for searching a podcast's archives. In spite of my intention to only use one podcast app, I found wasn't able to abandon the iPhone's native Podcasts app because it's superior for one-off downloads/listens and for saving podcasts I want to keep "forever."

So this is how I now use the two podcast apps:

Litagogo's Best Uses of Shifty Jelly's Pocket Casts App

I use the Pocket Casts app as a podcast radio. I set up its subscriptions so that whenever I open up the app, I can quickly find a podcast episode that suits my activity, whether it's cooking or gardening or walking. To whit:

For subscribing to my frequent-listening podcasts such as Eleanor Wachtel's Writers & Company from CBC RadioThe New Yorker Fiction Podcast, the BBC's Books and Authors podcastPRI's Selected Shorts, and Brad Listi's Other People podcast.

For subscribing to newsy/culture podcasts I like to dip into, such as WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show podcast and BBC Radio's Front Row Weekly podcast.

For streaming the above when I have free WiFi.

For manually downloading episodes from any of the podcasts above when I know I have a long drive ahead.

What I love most about the Pocket Casts app:
The individual podcast subscription summary pages, with a header at the top that tells you how many Recent, Unplayed, Downloaded, and Unfinished episodes you have for that podcast, and underneath the header, a reverse-chronological list of recent episodes.

What I love second-most about the Pocket Casts app:
The "Show Notes" that pop-up from the main podcast menu and that also are found by swiping left from within an episode. Also in general, the listening controls, particularly the rewind 10 seconds overlay.

What I like least about the Pocket Casts app:
Internal search for particular episodes is apparently non-existent. Or at least invisible to moi. For that you need good old Google, and then once you have a date you have to skim back, which is fast, but apparently only possible on podcasts to which you've subscribed--not good for one-off listens, so for that I still use the iPhone's free Podcasts app (more below).

Litagogo's Best Uses of Apple's iPhone Podcasts App

As suggested by its use of a "Library" label to display personalized content, I use the native iPhone Podcasts app more as a podcast library more than a podcast radio. To what:

For using the Store search function to sample or trial-run podcasts I may or may not want to subscribe to regularly on the Pocket Casts app. Sampling podcasts on the iPhone's Podcast app avoids overloading my Pocket Cast app's [New] Episodes feed, which quickly dragontails itself now that I have five or six subscriptions. I don't want samples clogging up my radio feed of reliables above.

For listening to a single episode of a podcast for research or passing-fancy interest, whether I've identified it from someone's recommendation or from a keyword search. The internal search on the iPhone Podcasts app is decent, and I assume just a portal into iTunes. For detailed searches or more macro searches you must resort to the Google, and then armed with podcast/episode info dip back into the Podcasts app.

For storing podcasts I want to keep and also sync across platforms. There are certain author interviews or craft talky-talk podcasts or short story readings that I can listen to several times--these I keep in two places: on a playlist on my iPod called "Perpetuities" and by downloading them into the iPhone podcast app. I highly recommend downloading your most beloved podcast episodes because sometimes they become unavailable. If you tire of them you can delete them later.

What I love most about the native iPhone Podcast app:
Sampling and archive functionality.

What I like least about the native iPhone Podcast app:
Lack of detailed episode descriptions up front on lists and also within the episodes.

1 comment: