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Good Podcasts and Podcatchers? 90

Posted by Cliff
from the take-your-internet-audio-with-you dept.
Chimera512 asks: "I've heard quite a bit about podcasts and software for aggregating podcasts, most of the software I've tried to use have been mediocre at best. where do you find podcasts that are worth listening to? What do you use to aggregate them? Ideally something that allows me to simply copy the stream URL into the program and have it download and/or transfer the file to my MP3 player."
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Good Podcasts and Podcatchers?

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  • Mozilla Thunderbird has a great RSS reader, supporting downloading of podcasts onto your computer. Unfortunately, it won't send to your MP3 player, but that's not very difficult to do with another app.
  • iTunes? (Score:4, Informative)

    by GusherJizmac (80976) on Friday March 24, 2006 @01:43PM (#14989627) Homepage
    iTunes makes it pretty simple, especially if you have an iPod or other MP3 player (yes iTunes will work with other MP3 players, assuming you are just interested in playing mp3s)
    • I also use iTunes. It does the job just fine, but requires Windows-XP or a Mac. I occasionally use my Tivo for one-shot podcast listening as well.

      Finding good podcasts is a challenge. Everyone has different tastes, and there's a lot of just plain crap out there. But here are a some that I like:

      National Public Radio [npr.org] has lots of good news-related podcasts. The NPR Story of the Day cast is worth a listen, and Wait... Wait Don't Tell Me is hilarious.

      Coverville [coverville.com] is a popular music podcast. The show's host i
      • Finding good podcasts is a challenge.
        Here's one! CBC Radio 3 [radio3.cbc.ca].
        New music, many styles. Available in M4A, MP3, and OGG Vorbis.
      • If you're interested in good quality economic analysis, yes a niche but its also an easy way to get some understanding of the economy from top sources, try the Bloomberg Economic [bloomberg.com] podcast. They have a knowledgable host who interviews a range of economists about economic and finance stories of the week, updated around 3 times per week. Learning curve isn't too steep, and it surpasses most newspaper columns IMHO (as they should - interviews with leading names by the leading economic and financial data analys
    • Except Apple and iTunes should be shot for having a separate interface to put podcasts into their store that has nothing to do with having them on the web, and isn't compatible with any other podcatcher. At least I haven't yet found a (free) podcast I cared about that was only on iTunes since everyone does the RSS first anyway (and I think iTunes uses the RSS internally). However, I would encourage people not to use iTunes and in particular the ITMS for podcatching for this very reason.

      Come on, Apple. Open
      • Re:iTunes? (Score:3, Informative)

        by gozar (39392)

        Except Apple and iTunes should be shot for having a separate interface to put podcasts into their store that has nothing to do with having them on the web, and isn't compatible with any other podcatcher. At least I haven't yet found a (free) podcast I cared about that was only on iTunes since everyone does the RSS first anyway (and I think iTunes uses the RSS internally). However, I would encourage people not to use iTunes and in particular the ITMS for podcatching for this very reason. Come on, Apple. Op

        • Apple has introduced dozens of new tgs into the RSS spec just to handle wonderful iTunes specific stuff. The feeds designed for iTunes will work in other aggregators, for now. I am sure that eventually the will introduce and require soemthign that breaks other podcatchers
      • linefeed0, this is my major bug bear with iTunes. I installed it as I was curious to see how they presented their podcasts (in particular the Free Talk Live one which I listen to). As I access a couple of PCs it annoys the hell out of me that I have to have their software installed to check out what's going on. It's also annoying that for something that I can look up straight away through my browser (such as Podcast Alley, which I use) that to do the same thing on iTunes I have to fire up their software.
  • by bheer (633842) <rbheer@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday March 24, 2006 @01:45PM (#14989643)
    but Zoe's Radio [zoeradio.com] has got to be one of the better ones, she RJs very well for someone so young:
    Podcast feed: http://webjay.org/by/iancr/zoe5c27sradioshow.xml [webjay.org]

    Then let's not forget the (supershort but funny) Onion Radio News [theonion.com].

    When BSG's on air, Ron Moore's podcasts [scifi.com] are also good listening.

  • Hint... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Otter (3800)
    The prefix "pod" gives a clue as to what the ideal software/player combo is...
  • by Fitzghon (578350)
    Just use iTunes. You can subscribe to podcasts by url, and choose to have them downloaded to your iPod, etc.
    In terms of podcasts, though, you really need to find ones you like. I listen to Gaming Steve (http://www.gamingsteve.com/ [gamingsteve.com]) but that's MY taste. You need to find what you like for yourself.

    Fitzghon
    • by OneSeventeen (867010) * on Friday March 24, 2006 @05:03PM (#14991177) Homepage Journal

      While iTunes works well for this, some of us still don't own iPods, and don't like installing a huge program like iTunes just for the podcasting feature.

      My current favorite is winamp [winamp.com], although if Democracy Player [getdemocracy.org] ever became stable, it would be #1 in my book.

      The only Podcast I listen to is The Frequency [m88.org], dedicated primarily to Christian Music News, reviews, and interviews. (without being super cheesy)

      • While iTunes works well for this, some of us still don't own iPods, and don't like installing a huge program like iTunes just for the podcasting feature.

        And some of us don't run Windoze or MacOS. There's this crazy new thing called "Linux" out there these days - maybe some of you Slashdot folks have heard of it? ;-)
  • Browse (Score:4, Informative)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Friday March 24, 2006 @01:52PM (#14989702) Homepage
    I use this site [allpodcasts.com] to browse podcasts. Lots of good ones are there, for all areas of interest.
  • iTunes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dr. Sp0ng (24354)
    Well, the obvious answer is to use the iTunes music store with an iPod - most podcasts worth listening to are on iTunes. The problem is that there are very few worth listening to. Most of them are consist of some guy with a nasal voice and no broadcasting skills, talking about something that would be better served by a regular blog post, and saying it poorly - "Uh... er... well..." and so on.

    I've found that the only podcasts I end up listening to on a regular basis are the NPR ones (you can either get
  • I listen to a few...

    The Signal; A podcast about Firefly and Serenity.
    http://signal.serenityfirefly.com/ [serenityfirefly.com]

    TWIT; Basically Leo Laporte and his crew talk about tech stuff for an hour.
    http://www.twit.tv/ [www.twit.tv]

    Slice of SciFi; for all the science fiction news you could shake a stick at.
    http://www.sliceofscifi.com/ [sliceofscifi.com]

    FireflyTalk is good too...
    http://fireflytalk.libsyn.com/ [libsyn.com]
  • by rueger (210566) on Friday March 24, 2006 @01:54PM (#14989722) Homepage
    In fact, one of the challenges being identified by Public Broadcasters [npr.org] and others is how to let potential listeners know about downloadable/podcasted content.

    I'd say that right now it comes down to luck and word of mouth. I'm finding that I tend to stick to content from "professional" broadcasters. So much of the rest of existing podcasts are "produced" by half drunk frat boys being potty mouths and playing indy rock.

    As far as clients, iTunes really does podcasts pretty well. iPodder, at least on my old PC seemed to be a resource hog in some fashion.

  • mplayer (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...which can turn any realaudio stream (from e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/ [bbc.co.uk] or any of the "listen again" pages) into a podcast.
  • ExtraLife Radio [myextralife.com] is the only one that has kept my interest. The host, Scott, and his friends humorously discuss just about anything geeky: WoW, sci-fi, B-movies, gaming in general, etc.
  • My list (Score:1, Interesting)

    by blefler (169430)
    • Cinecast [cinecastshow.com] is an excellent movie review podcasts the IMO beats the snot out of Ebert & Whoever (of course you can catch their podcast as well.) RSS Feed [feedburner.com]
    • Keith and the Girl [keithandthegirl.com] still stands as one of my regulars, although not for everyone, but very funny. RSS Feed [libsyn.com]
    • Coverville [coverville.com] is a wonderful high production values music podcast that features only covers of songs. I love it. RSS Feed [feedburner.com]

    As for RSS feed readers/podcatchers (another hated word mashup), I still use the original Juice [sourceforge.net] receiver (previously calle

  • To answer half your question (the how), just buy the latest issue of Linux Journal http://www.linuxjournal.com/ [linuxjournal.com]. The latest issue's theme is podcasting.
  • by UnderScan (470605) <jjp6893.netscape@net> on Friday March 24, 2006 @02:09PM (#14989836)
    Apple iTunes & iPods are the dominant software & hardware audio players, but not everone has an iPod or wants to use Apple iTunes. If you do not use Apple iTunes, then you might like to check out Juice Receiver [1]. Juice uses RSS feeds to download podcasts to your computer. Juice is platform-independent, so you can use it from virtually any computer and play the files on any MP3 device. If you need assistance with it, then see the Juice FAQ [2] and the Juice User Guide (PDF) [3].

    [1] http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
    [2] http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/faq/index.php [sourceforge.net]
    [3] http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/docs/JuiceUse rGuide.pdf [sourceforge.net]
  • As you have noticed, podcasts generally suck - too much egotism, friendpotism, and what-I-had-for-breakfast.

    Instead, check out IT Conversations [itconversations.com]. Hopefully others will suggest additional similar sources of high quality interviews and talks beyond just the NPR stuff, which often tends to be a rehash of what appeared on the Interweb several days earlier.
    • I second the motion for IT Conversations.

      My favorite, however, is TrailCast [trailcast.org]. It is for hikers and focuses on long-haul thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, etc.

      Sound quality is good. The guy who produces it has done a great job of setting up a high quality recording studio in his bathroom [trailcast.org]. :-)

      My biggest beef with 95% of podcasts is that they are made with $5 microphones on a big, noisy PC and it shows.

      Trailcast sounds great and the content is always cool. I love listening to ta

      • >The two guys who did this were AVERAGING about 40-45 miles per day.

        That's hard core, if not hard to believe. If you walk 4 miles an hour, which is a pretty fast pace especially carrying a pack, that's over 10 hours of solid walking a day. If it's true, these guys are not experiencing much of the trails compared to what normal hikers would.

        Figure up at six, hit the trail by 6:30, eat on the run, take an hour's worth of 10 minute breaks during the day, plus an hour for lunch, and an hour to make camp. Tha
        • No kidding. Hard core doesn't even begin to describe these guys.

          The first guy goes by the trail name "Flyin' Brian" (Brian Robinson) and he was the first to hike all three trails in one year. The second guy, Mat Hazley (trail-name Squeaky), was the first to hike them all without skipping around. Brian switched from the AT to the Continental Divide Trail so that he could avoid the deep snows in New England and then came back to the AT to finish.

          Squeaky didn't cook. He said he ate poptarts for breakfast t

  • NPR [npr.org] and Marketplace [marketplace.org] post podcasts of some of their more popular shows.

    Check your local [wamu.org] stations [weta.org] as well.
  • I think a lot of the developers on /. would digg codesermon.org [codesermon.org]. 15 minute talks on a single programming topic.
  • by lky (246353)
    I like Podget (http://podget.sf.net./ [podget.sf.net] Its a simple bash script optimized for running as a cron-job so I've got all the latest podcasts every morning. Then a simple upload to my Ipod with GtkPod (http://gtkpod.sf.net/ [sf.net] as I check the weather in the morning.

    Why sit and wait for downloads when its time to go?

  • One of my favorite podcasts is Escape Pod [escapepod.org]. Well worth a listen to. I also enjoy NASA's podcast as well as Space.com's. I also listen the the DragonPage shows as Mur Lafferty's two shows (I Should Be Writing [ishouldbewriting.com] and Geek Fu Action Grip [geekfuactiongrip.com]). As for my environment; well, I have a Creative Labs Zen Nomad XTra which my wife bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago. Since I use KDE as my desktop environment, I use KZenExplorer [sourceforge.net] to hook up to it, and KPodder [leonscape.co.uk] as my aggregator; it downloads the feeds into specific
  • Juice [slashdot.org] is quite nice, for the most part. There's a bug in the current release which will cause trouble if you have filenames with non-7 bit ASCII characters in them, but outside of that, it works quite nicely.
  • There was an earlier Slashdot [slashdot.org] story on this.

    Sometimes I just browse through iTunes podcast library for certain keywords (eg literature english) and then sort it by popularity. Many times you will get the better ones (eg from BBC or stanford radio etc) and not some random dude ranting in his basement.

    And sometimes I just lurk for questions like these where other users tell about their favorite podcasts and then I go and check them out ..

  • Free Talk Live (Score:3, Informative)

    by ted_nugent (226799) on Friday March 24, 2006 @02:28PM (#14990004) Homepage Journal
    Free Talk Live [freetalklive.com] is about the only podcast I listen to. Podcast Alley [podcastalley.com] is a pretty decent directory.
    • Re:Free Talk Live (Score:3, Informative)

      by GimmeFuel (589906)
      FTL rocks.

      They're not the normal "hey, let's go buy a $100 microphone and record ourselves talking shit then put it on a webpage" podcast. (You [podshow.com] know [keithandthegirl.com] who [podshow.com] you are) They're a syndicated [freetalklive.com] radio show that's been putting their archives up for download completely free since day one, almost three and a half years ago, when these "podcast" things existed, but there wasn't even a bandwagon to jump on yet.

      Since they're primarily a radio show, the audio quality and production values are much higher than most other p

    • Would have to agree with you on Podcast Alley having a great selection. I wasn't as wrapped in the iTunes directory and while it's only a feeling, it seemed to me that there was just a bit too much glitz.
  • Dammit! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday March 24, 2006 @02:31PM (#14990029) Homepage Journal
    My podcast isn't ready yet, so I've missed a perfectly good opportunity to hype it up on Slashdot. Could someone be a pal and dupe this question in another week or so?
  • Those two pieces of information will have to be your starting point. My iRiver and Ipodder work just fine together. YMMV. As for podcasts, look for things that interest you. I am a newly converted catholic, and one of my favorite podcasts is from Father Roderick: ( http://www.catholicinsider.com/ [catholicinsider.com] ) I enjoy his information, style, and POV. You may not. On the other hand, I enjoy a big breasted potty mouthed chick by the name of Soccergirl (TM). Fun, and the voice/quality is usually pretty good. Also, sh
    • Cool, another fan of Father Roderick! I'm not a Catholic or a Christian in general, but I listen to his Daily Breakfast podcast every day. He's definitely changed my idea of the stereotypical view of a priest. He's a huge fan of things like Star Wars and Harry Potter, and even does specialty podcasts that explore the mythological concepts in both. Among other things, he's a huge fan of the TV shows, "24" and "Lost." He once geeked out for about 10 minutes talking about how cool it was to have the cops
  • My show, Free Talk Live: http://freetalklive.com/ [freetalklive.com] Not just a podcast, but also a live stream and a radio show on in 14 markets!
  • Obviously the best out there for new music is The Indie Sermons of the Rt. Rev Fischer [vdov.net] (RSS [feedburner.com]).

    I might be biased because its mine.

    More seriously there are some from a non-geek perspective (it's good to get out a bit):

    Dreadful Snake Radio [libsyn.com] (RSS [libsyn.com]
    A middle aged former musician turned corporate guy. He mixes his love of folk/blues in with his world travels. It is a little "what I did today" but what he does daily is amazing. Everything from podcasting while doing a 5k with his son, while biking in Beijing

  • I listen almost exclusively to music podcasts, since I find amateurs talking at a mic only slightly less annoying than professionals on the radio talking at a mic, but just like blogs, the best way to find good podcasts is to find one you like, then find what other podcasts that podcast's website links to.

    My favorite music podcasts, though, are:
    The Beat Oracle [beatoracle.net] (Downtempo Electronica and smart hip-hop)
    The Data Sound [blogspot.com] (Indie Alternative with some eclectic touches)
    the letter g [theletterg.org] (very eclectic from week to w
  • I have recently started running a podcast myself

    The focus of this podcast is reasonably specific : electro,new wave, goth, industrial, ebm, synth, electroclash, new wave :

    http://www.bloosqr.com/ [bloosqr.com]

    When I first started advertising I have posted to all the 'aggregators" and I can tell you from looking
    at my logs, no one comes from those things. The Itunes searching thing works reasonably well. What does work is looking at myspace/livejournal groups that have similar interests at least for electro/synth..
    So I wou
  • Apart from all the excellent NPR podcasts around, the most entertaining and impressive thing I've come across in the pod-o-sphere is the wonderful phenomenon of "podiobooks". The premier innovator and author/narrator/podcaster in this genre is Mr. Scott Sigler of Earthcore fame. If you missed the hugely enjoyable Earthcore experience you can still catch up with it (details at http://scottsigler.net/ [scottsigler.net] ) and then get stuck in to Sigler's more recent Ancestor and (now in progress) Infection. There are many othe
  • I like Free Talk Live: http://www.freetalklive.com/ [freetalklive.com] . They make the show available in different formats, you can download show archives in BitTorrents, you can discuss the show on their forum or on their wiki, and it's all free. For quite a while they were in the top three political podcasts according to PodCast Alley http://www.podcastalley.com/ [podcastalley.com] *happy listening* -lois
  • I'm planning on travelling to Japan in a few months, so I went searching to see if there was a podcast dedicated to teaching Japanese. I found a couple, but there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest. While the others I tried sounded like they had the Japanese equivalent of Ben Stein reading text from a beginning Japanese textbook, the people at JapanesePod101.com [japanesepod101.com] all seem to enjoy what they're doing. As far as I've gotten (about 1 month in), their teaching style is pretty much "Imagine y
  • iTunes Agent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ematic (217513) on Friday March 24, 2006 @03:11PM (#14990344)
    For convenient podcast downloads for NON-iPod MP3 players, try iTunes + iTunes Agent.

    iTunes
    http://www.apple.com/itunes/ [apple.com]

    iTunes Agent - use any MP3 player with iTunes
    http://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?forum_id=54 9637 [sourceforge.net]

    My Morning Playlist
    Nature Podcast (science journal)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/ [nature.com]

    NPR 5-minute News Summary
    NPR Health & Science
    NPR Technology
    http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_directory.p hp?type=topic [npr.org]

    Democracy NOW! (news - better than NPR in some ways)
    http://democracynow.org/podcast_help.shtml#feeds [democracynow.org]

    Diggnation (latest general blog news from digg.com)
    http://revision3.com/diggnation [revision3.com]

    This Week in Tech (weekly tech news)
    http://twit.tv/podcastinfo [twit.tv]

    Security Now! (tech/security news)
    http://www.grc.com/SecurityNow.htm [grc.com]

    President's Weekly Radio Address (comedy)
    http://weeklyradioaddress.com/ [weeklyradioaddress.com]

    and I used to listen to Ricky Gervais (comedy), but he charges $$ now.
    http://www.rickygervais.com/podcast.php [rickygervais.com]
  • I've listened to a number of podcasts and one of the few that I've actually kept listening to is Free Talk Live ( http://freetalklive.com./ [freetalklive.com.] It may seem odd for an Aussie to listen to a US talk show, a couple of listens will probably convince you why. These guys will talk about anything to anyone around the world (and they regularly do this). Their main focus is Freedom and Liberty and their message of how we can obtain this is pertinent to any location. The two blokes who always host it are so passionate a
  • I'm a regular listener of "Left Right and Center", an NPR political show based out KCRW in Santa Monica College. Like all NPR podcasts, it's free. If only they'd put out "This American Life" as a podcast! A boy can wish.

    • "This American Life" is the one that I have been dying for. I even wrote some scripts to convert the audio of the shows to mp3s so I could listen to them, but I'd prefer them to do all the work for me.
  • All available through iTunes:

    ChinesePod
    JapanesePod101
    Nature Podcast (as in the scientific journal)
    NOVA | PBS
    Battlestar Galactica Commentary
    NPR's Science Friday
    Scientific American Podcast
    Slacker Astronomy
    The Beat Oracle
    The Onion Radio News
  • I've written a script in Perl called Piddlepodder. Just copy the XML feed URL into the feeds file, set it in cron, and forget about it. I've got lots of feature request that eventually I'll have time to put in there.

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/piddlepodder [sourceforge.net]

    Hope this helps!
  • I used to pick and choose podcasts carefully trying to get a balance of different areas I was interested in. Screw it. There's too many. Hit a directory, browse, and whenever you see anything that looks vaguely of interest, subscribe. If you find that you hate it, unsubscribe. There's really no commitment beyond that. What I've found is that if I pick a top ten of podcasts I love, then there will be down periods where I've listened to all of them and then have nothing new. So instead I keep a very wi
  • Like almost everything, I find the best way to find good quality podcasts is from friend suggestions. On that note, may I suggest RadioTiki [radiotiki.com] to everyone... by far the funniest podcast I listen to. In fact, they're doing a show tonight!
  • My favorite podcatcher is BashPodder [homeunix.org], a minimalist bash script that uses wget to grab enclosures for you. Fast, light, stable, easy to modify. I typically use an iPod shuffle which I charge overnight, so one can also make a script to check if it is mounted, copy or move files to it, and run iPod Shuffle Database Builder [sourceforge.net].

    For better reccomendations, you might give us an idea of which OS you're using, if you have always-on internet, whether you'd prefer to grab content at least once a day or manually (with o
  • by Belgand (14099)
    Juice [sourceforge.net] (formerly iPodder) is pretty much the go-to standard... or at least it was until iTunes added podcasting support. Personally I use iTunes and only because it integrates much better than iPodder ever did, but that's entirely a personal choice.

    As far as Podcasts go here are some of my favorites:

    Coverville [coverville.com] : An excellent podcast devoted to covers. Always excellent.

    Reel Reviews Radio [reelreviewsradio.com] : Short (and the occasional Cinephile long-form) discussions of various films. The subtitle of "Films Worth Watching" proba
  • either podcast alley or the itunes search worked OK for me; it's easy to find podcasts relating to topics you're interested in. I personally listen to k9cast [k9cast.com] (about dogs), phedippidations [phedippidations.com], for runners (even though i'm not one of them) and dawn & drew (say what you want but they're hilarious when you're not in the mood for something more serious). I found all these podcasts and more by searching for specific topics on the search engines.
  • If you want to laugh out loud about geek stuff, you can't go wrong with http://www.geekdrome.com/ [geekdrome.com] and http://www.lugradio.org/ [lugradio.org].
  • It's called WinPodder [winpodder.com] which I heard about on the Daily Breakfast [catholicinsider.com]. I have not personally tried it as I am comfortable with iTunes.

    I usually find my podcasts on iTunes, but occasionally use Podcast Alley [podcastalley.com] to search for topics I like. Listen to a few and unsubscribe from the bad ones.

    I like the PC Gamer Podcast [pcgamerpodcast.com] and am still trying out the PSP podcasts from PG Revolution [pgrevolution.com] not 100% sold on it yet, but it has held my interest for a few weeks now.
  • Lugradio [lugradio.org] is a fortnightly British radio show that takes a relaxed, humorous look at Linux and open source. Has useful and informative features such as "What the Fook Book Truck", "Hype or Shite". Hosted by Jono Bacon [jonobacon.org] and some others. Language will probably offend.
  • You don't mention your OS and I'm not sure if it's cross platform or not but on linux ipodder works great. And for debian and ubuntu it's in the reps.
  • Besides listening to my "regular" podcasts I found lately an interesting one with a different approach. The project behind that podcast collects audio material from visitors of their website. The goal is to create an audio time capsule. Not everything is worth listening but there is some funny stuff.

    http://www.millionsecondshomepage.com/list.php [millionsec...mepage.com]

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