Play-by-play: Podcaster reviews

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Podcasts are (ear)worming their way into mainstream media. The content can be produced at a rapid pace, while the large supply of shows are a boon to binge-watchers. Podcasting companies like Gimlet Media, Maximum fun, and the Nerdy Show Network prove there is a market for quality, while traditional content-providers like CBC, BBC, and NPR are investing serious efforts into accessing these new markets. Listener software has also expanded; where once direct downloads in .mp3 were standard, we now benefit from intuitive softwares. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for among these podcast players.

Spotify

Spotify’s podcasting platform leaves a lot to be desired. It lacks many of the key podcasts, and review sections. The search bar also easily becomes clogged with the various other forms of media Spotify provides.  Spotify does offer a couple of podcast exclusives to make up for its lack of selection, unlike other podcast services.

Google Play Music

The only reason Google Play is even on this list is because it comes with your Samsung phone.  It is the MS Paint of audio but less user-friendly. Nevertheless, it is bothersome to delete, and probably not worthwhile for the casual listener. Benefits include a limited playback feature, auto-downloads and undownloads, and notifications for new episodes, but the controls are meant for the nimble. The download cue is accessible but the button to play the track overwhelms it and there is no clear method to cue podcasts. Google Play also does not display reviews or offer anything close to Apple’s selection. The selection it does possess gets clogged by album, video and song titles. Say goodbye to NPR favourites like This American Life, dramas like The Scottish Podcast, and CBC favourites like Under the Influence.

CastBox

CastBox offers a very strong selection of podcasts (over one million!), with good filtering for the discovery page. It even has an audio search, letting you search by phrase. It has won both “Top Trending Apps” from Global Best 2016 and “Most Entertaining” from Best Apps 2016 by Google Play.

Stitcher

This is pop-media’s favourite podcast app.  It features some of the best content, and aggregates large media providers into stations.  Much like Reddit, it does not require Wi-Fi to keep you up-to-date, choosing data instead. Unlike most of Reddit, its use of sound files will have an impact on your data plan.  Users have also complained that there are many bugs in the current version.

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