More on Podcasting’s past/future

As an update to my previous post on the past and potential future of podcasting

More on Podcasting’s past/future

As an update to my previous post on the past and potential future of podcasting, I wanted to share some good examples that came in from the feedback on my piece.

There is still lots of work to be done, but what follows are examples of attempts at chipping away at the big ideas that can grow podcasting. It’s important to shine a light on early pioneers, and to offer encouragement—it’s an exciting time in an exciting medium, and I hope to see it continue to expand.


I quickly added a link to this after publishing my original essay, but now that I’ve used it a bit, this app really does a great job introducing podcast-style audio to a casual user. The app figures out your local NPR affiliate and opens each morning with a quick news recap. It continually suggests shows to you in a nice easy to follow feed, and then tweaks that feed based on what you listen to, like, and dislike in the app via controls.

My only criticism of the app is that it skews so far towards casual listeners and users that I wonder if it supports a heavy user of the app, months down the line. I could imagine this app growing more complex if you want it to be, and letting you maintain subscriptions for shows you never want to miss, while still being friendly to a first time user of web audio.

Overcast (adding podcasts)

Overcast is a great iOS podcast client that I’ve used a bit, but it wasn’t until recently that I found out it does new subscriptions in a really nice way, offering “starter kits” that are basically bundles of shows from a similar genre. It also offers up a screen of notable episodes and podcasts mentioned from your Twitter feed (after you connect to Twitter in the app). Here’s what my add new podcast screen, and suggested from Twitter screen looks like:

Knomad (adding podcasts, friend feeds)

The developer of this app suggested it to me on Twitter, and I gave it a try. It’s a podcast client for iOS that integrates with Facebook, and it shows you what shows are popular across the system and what your friends are listening to. The downside is the app has a classic chicken-and-egg problem, since it only tracks friends also using the app. Since I didn’t know anyone in my network also using this podcast client, I didn’t get to see the real social benefits demonstrated, and it just suggested popular shows.

The app shows promise though, and I’m impressed someone tried to make a Twitter/Instagram-style river of news feed for podcasts that shows what your friends are all listening to together.

SoundCiteJS (browser editing)

SoundCiteJS is a browser-based way to make clips from any audio that can be embedded in blog posts, and it feels like a nice start for the editing tools I wished existed. It’s pretty simple and straightforward and I still think there’s a lot of work to be done here to bring audio up to the levels of tools we already have for making video clips in a desktop browser, but it’s a cool tool I didn’t know existed until people on Twitter mentioned it to me.

One last wish: Social subscription lists

Any time I share a screenshot of my podcast apps on Twitter, I inevitably get a string of responses going “OMG, what do you think of that X show?” or “Should I also subscribe to X?” and I realized there’s no easy way to share what podcasts you follow in any public way. Again, podcast listening is so personal we don’t even get to share easily with others how we use our apps, and that’s unfortunate.

I wish one of the podcast clients or networks let you (optionally) post the list of shows you follow (via OPML export/upload or direct from an app) and gave you a permanent URL that could be shared (e.g. or It could be like my public list of who I follow on Twitter, but about podcasts. I’d love to be able to surf through any friends I know also on the system, and there could be easy subscribe links throughout for shows I don’t yet follow.

There’s no public way to do this (aside from sharing my own OPML file of shows) and I think that’s a huge obvious opportunity for someone.