Podtastic Part V: Listening Hacks

If you become a podcast addict like myself, keeping up with your favorite shows is simultaneously challenging and fun.

A podcast aggregator, or “podcatcher” app, is helpful to keep all your podcasts straight. Though Apple knocks it out of the park with their devices, their native podcast app is frankly meh. The good news is there are plenty of others, and they’re good for everyone—easy for consumers, and an additional opportunity for advertisers to reach their audience.

I won’t reinvent the wheel, so here’s a good comprehensive list of the best. Overcast is my favorite, and free. But help a really nice Dev out and upgrade to Paid if you like it after a month. Another favorite around the office is Stitcher, which also makes it easy to save shows, create playlists and discover new podcasts.


Some more tips as a podcast veteran – so you don’t have to make the mistakes I did:

  • Subscribe to your favorite shows: This keeps you up-to-date on episodes—many apps automatically download podcasts as they become available.
  • Download, don’t stream: Otherwise you’ll lose your place if you have to stop, and that’s a pain (and it keeps your data plan from going over).
  • Speed! Most apps have a setting to listen to the podcasts at an accelerated pace. It drives some people nuts (yes, some podcasters sound like crazed squirrels) but I love it because it allows me to listen to even more podcasts!
  • Know where your skip and back buttons are: With multitasking comes missing some crucial details, and you’ve got to know how to ‘rewind’ to catch an important part.
  • Sometimes the ads can get repetitive, so skip the ads after you’ve listened to them once, unless they are live reads – then listen! They’re worth it (especially on Pod Save America). And of course, support the advertisers you like (no I do not have a Casper mattress yet, but I have tried Blue Apron).
  • Try at least 2 episodes—the first one and a recent one—to see if it’s worth it. If not, unsubscribe! Life is too short for bad podcasts.



1. Freakonomics: I admit I have a geek crush on all things Steven Dubner (see also: Tell Me Something I Don’t Know podcast). As an agency planner, I’m a huge follower of behavioral economics (props to Dr. Richard Thaler on the Nobel this month!) and this podcast covers the timeliest of current topics with depth and data.

2. The Allusionist: A witty, concise podcast about language origins and influences. Helen Zaltzmann’s dry delivery seals the deal. Even her ‘random word from the dictionary’ is funny to me.

3. Slate Culture Gabfest: A weekly witty, erudite summary of pop culture—it’s a weird marriage of Entertainment Weekly and those super smart English MA’s you knew in college.