Podcatchers: 4 Apps for Listening to Podcasts

queer-your-tech-header_FINAL_640web-640x290Two things have inspired me to talk about podcast apps this week—first, like much of the Autostraddle community, I’m listening to Fist You where two friends talk about sex, sex toys and comparing celebrities to sex toys. One of those friends is someone we know very well as one of our beloved Saturday Morning Cartoonists, Anna (do you notice the distinct Grease Bats bent in the podcast art?)! I’m hearing them laugh in my left ear right now as I type this, and it’s charming. The second reason is that I’m preparing to drive to South Carolina for Christmas and it will take one million hours and if I don’t have audio company with me in that car I will die. I thought maybe many of you would like to prepare for holiday travel and also listen to queerdos talk about sex toys, but without the weird interfaces of Stitcher or the Apple Podcast app. Here are some apps for your phone that will help you do that thing.


Overcast

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This is the one I personally use on my phone! Overcast comes with a ton of features for finding, organizing and playing podcasts. Get recommendations from the people you follow on Twitter and easily find podcasts on topics of your choice. Also search for podcasts by their name. In terms of listening features, there are two that are super badass: Smart Speed gets rid of dead air and silences in podcasts and speeds it up just a teeny tiny bit, which saves time overall; Voice Boost equalizes sound so that one voice isn’t too quiet while the other is too loud. Unlike what most reviews say about Overcast, you can actually stream your podcasts (it’s a feature that was rolled out after the fact), but I like to download podcasts while I’m on wifi to avoid the buffering problem. You can even set it to auto-delete episodes you’ve listened to. Also this is pretty. You know how I’m a sucker for pretty design. Also also, as of this past October it’s free for iOS.

The only thing I don’t like about Overcast is that their web app is nowhere near as good as their mobile app, and if I’m listening on my computer, I wish for better syncability. If that’s important to you, too, you may want to check out—


Downcast

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The main big thing about Downcast is that they have an iOS app and a Mac App, so if you’re an Apple user and you like flipping back and forth between your mobile device and your computer with nary an interruption, this is for you! At $2.99 and $7.99 respectively, Downcast also provides support for password protected podcasts. I’m not as big of a fan of the design on Downcast because I like my interfaces to be a bit more minimal than this (and brighter and happier), but if you spend time staring at your phone in the dark, I think you’ll appreciate the color scheme.

Not an Apple user? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back with—


Pocket Casts

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Pocket Casts is aesthetically very similar to Overcast, with one very important difference: platform diversity. It’s available for iOS ($5.99), Android ($3.99), Windows Phone ($3.99) and in your browser ($9, with a 14 day free trial). But most importantly, I like that you pay for it. I know that’s, like, a really weird opinion to have, but listen to this from their website:

We don’t do freemium. No VC funding. No crazy. We love podcasts and we’ve built the web player that we want to use. We’ve priced it at a point where we’ll stick around to keep it up to date. You can expect support, features and many more awesome things in the future.

I like that they have an eye to sustainability, and that they plan to grow the software. So often apps are fueled by the unsustainable plans that they speak of here, instead of something logical and long term. When I see great companies putting out great software for a price that keeps the software great, I swoon.


Podcast Addict

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If you’re on a tighter budget, Podcast Addict for Android (with an accompanying Google Chrome app) is totally free. It’s also a little more than just a podcast player and manager — you can “manage all your audio & video Podcasts, Radio on Demand, Audio books, Live stream radio as well as your YouTube channels and RSS News feeds.” Wow. Unlike the above apps, which appear to have teams, this app is written and maintained by just one dude. Also wow.


Podcasts To Listen To

Truth is, we’re all a bunch of podcast addicts here. We’ve written about podcasts a bajillion times and we even make one of our own for our A+ members. Here are a bunch of different podcast posts where we tell you what to put in your ears:

Eight Podcasts That Aren’t This American Life, by Brittani

Eight More Kickass Podcasts You Should Be Listening To, by Morgan

6 Gaming Podcasts By and For Women, by Al Rosenberg

Top 12 Podcasts Hosted By Queer Women, For Your Queer Ears, by Samara

So which podcatcher are you using this minute? And what’s on your listening list? Tell me, tell me, I wanna know!

Staff Writer for Autostraddle, Part-time Faculty at The New School (teaching digital storytelling), Managing Editor for Scholar & Feminist Online at Barnard Center for Research On Women. Follow me on Twitter @AEOsworth or on Instagram, also @AEOsworth.

A.E. has written 543 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. Oh, this is great. I’m a podcast virgin. The first and only time I even noticed that icon on my iphone was to download and listen to Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” which is free and which you should download immediately.

    For those of you who aren’t utter classic sci if nerds:
    It’s an adapted radiobroadcast of H.G.Wells’ novel, which aired on Halloween 1938.
    Due to the fact that Welles prerecorded it and put music over it, imitating a live newscast of an alien invasion, “The War of the Worlds” allegedly caused a mass panic that day.
    Keep that in mind, and imagine yourself sitting in your high backed recliner by the fireplace in 1938 as you listen to that very broadcast.

    As for me, I’ll check out the above mentioned articles, however, anyone got a fanfiction or STEM podcast at hand?

    • This isn’t really what you asked for, but lately I’ve been totally into podcasts that, War of the Worlds-like, are sci-fi or supernatural stories told in documentary/Serial-like investigative formats, like Limetown, The Message, The Black Tapes, and Tanis. I’d definitely be into recs of more like that (or even just more serialized fiction).

      • Awesome! I’ll try to remember to tipp you off once I’ve put some research into this.
        I haven’t listened to it,yet, but the slate has a series of interviews with science fiction authors, one of them is with Margaret Atwood! (I’m somewhat of a fangirl of hers, well, usually until the last page of every other book of hers.)
        And the serial investigative format sounds right up my alley! Thanks for the recs!

  2. I f-ing love podcasts and have been frustrated with the new iOS updated podcast app, I think I’ll be trying overcast first.

    Lately I’ve been really into Coupla Questions, Why Are People Into That?, Guys We Fucked and The Heart. Dear Sugar had Amanda Palmer on recently which was really great. And I can’t wait for new episodes of Mystery Show!

  3. I’m a big fan of the whole Radiotopia stable. The Heart, obvs, but also especially 99% Invisible and The Allusionist. In fact, I think I could listen to Helen Zaltzman’s smartass voice for hours on end without tiring.

  4. I use Overcast–beautiful design and great functionality. I tried Downcast, but I cannot get beyond its egregious user interface. I have heard great things about the “Castro” podcast app, too.

  5. I an an android user so I’m using podcast Republic. It let’s me download or stream podcasts, subscribe to a podcast, and even watch video podcasts if there is one. My favorite podcasts at the moment is questionable at best, thank you autostraddle for introducing me to this podcast. Deanne is just amazing, & her voice is something I could probably listen to all day.

  6. Oh, and I am re-listening to Serial. My favorite podcasts are Rational Security (national security law), Stuff You Should Know, StarTalk Radio (Neil deGrasse Tyson rambles now a lot nowadays, unfortunately), Astronomy Cast, and Common Sense with Dan Carlin (and his Hardcore History podcast as well).

  7. If anybody is learning Spanish: Radio Ambulante is an awesome podcast. It is similar to This American Life, but about Latin America. The best thing is that they have Spanish and English transcripts of the whole show on their website!

    They also have English podcasts (called Unscripted) but I have never listened to those.

    I use Stitcher, despite the weird interface. It’s just the first one I knew of 4 years ago and I am too lazy to try something new.

  8. I’m really digging Coupla Questions, That was Us by Julia Nunes, and Brand New Podcast, I’m grateful Autostraddle pointed me in the direction of those ones.

    I’m also loving The Cooler by KQED, which is a pop culture discussion podcast not made by white men! Which is something I had trouble finding at first. But yeah, definitely recommend if you like a thoughtful look at pop culture, and the hosts are all super delightful/engaging.

  9. Yessss thank you for the shoutout!! SO GLAD you like the podcast! Also thanks for listing all these rad apps to use! I’ve just been using the itunes podcast player (which I hate) and am glad there’s alternatives!!

  10. I’ve shopped around for other podcasting apps but keep coming back to Podcast Addict for Android. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t sync across devices…

    I’ve got about 12 podcasts that I listen to regularly. Thankfully, they run on varying schedules so I’m not inundated by them all at once. I’ll spare you the long rundown and instead just encourage folks to add Another Round w/ Heben & Tracy to their podcast lineup.

    It’s soooo good…unless you like squirrels….

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