Listening to podcasts - 3 apps

I have been a voracious podcast listener since This Week In Tech first premiered in 2005(!). Podcasting has exploded into a beautiful ecosystem of daily and weekly podcasts and long form serialized stories told in a weekly increments. I love all of it.

When I first started listening to podcasts on the iPhone, I listened in Downcast, I dabbled with Instacast (RIP), I’ve tried PocketCasts. Eventually, I settled on Overcast. Overcast is a great podcast player, but I had a hard time managing the combination of daily and weekly episodes as well as the long form season at a time podcasts. I’m sure this could be managed with better smart playlists, but I needed a fresh start.

I switched to Castro. I love Castro’s inbox metaphor. I find it works really well managing the flow of daily and weekly podcasts. Unfortunately, the inbox metaphor doesn’t work well for grouping a whole season of episodes, so I am continuing to use Overcast for the serialized, long form shows, think S-Town, Serial, or The Butterfly Effect.

The funny thing about listening to a lot of podcasts is that I find myself recommending podcasts to a lot of people. Because of this, the people in my life start listening to podcasts. My wife is now a podcast listener, and my kids are becoming podcast listeners too. There are some wonderful kid focused podcasts including Wow in the World, Brains On!, and Story Pirates. These are shows we listen to together and we can talk about their content. It is always funny to have a child tell you about something they heard in a podcast when the topic is in a context that is appropriate to them. We have had plenty of good conversations about capsicum after a Wow in the World about what makes spicy things spicy.

Listening to these podcasts together is fun, but can be hard to manage with two adults and two kids who has listened to what episode, how far in were we the last time we listened. In addition, if we want to listen in the kitchen and dining room on a Saturday morning while we are making pancakes, it isn’t exactly conducive to have a podcast playing from a phone’s speakers. We have a great Sonos speaker setup, but until Sonos supports AirPlay 2, I have been at a loss for how to leverage my fancy speaker system.

Enter PocketCasts.

PocketCasts, which is a fine podcast app in itself, works with Sonos speakers. We have few Sonos speakers in the house and being able to play the kid friendly podcasts over them is perfect. In addition, there are podcasts that my wife and I can listen to together and it is no big deal if the kids wander in on them.

Three podcasts apps to support all of my listening: Castro for me, Overcast for long form content, PocketCasts for kid and house friendly listening. If I had to make due with just one, I would pick Overcast. For now I will continue with this experiment of three podcast players.