[OT] Podcasts

I used to swear by CastBox, the perfect podcast app that was both free and almost ridiculously easy to use. The designers understood that it had two jobs: allow people to easily download virtually any podcast, and allow people to easily listen to anything downloaded.

But since we can’t have nice things, they decided to change it (ie: severely over-complicate it) and rename and re-arrange the essential functions, so that it’s become almost impossible to use.

Now that I’m swearing at Castbox, I’d happily delete this piece of dreck, even if that means losing every podcast I already have downloaded.

So I’m open to — actually, seriously in need of — suggestions. Nothing fancy: easy download and play, preferably free. I don’t need it to sync with all my devices. I don’t need it to tie into my social media. I don’t need it to walk my dog.

Thanks much.


  1. I find myself cursing the over-complications of Castbox all the time. I also cursed it limiting me to 100 podcast subscriptions in the free version. Didn’t like the ads either. And it’s kind of flaky, sometimes taking over my phone and running the battery down.

    The major plus for Castbox is that it’s the only app I’ve found that actually lets you access all the episodes of a podcast. The others seem to limit you to the 100 most recent episodes, meaning there can be years of episodes you can’t access. Soooooooo….I recently got the paid version. Not going to speak in it’s favour, but the ads are gone and I can subscribe to more feeds now.

    I feel your pain. I’d be interested to hear about suggested alternatives.

  2. I’ve used CastBox for a couple of years and have no real complaints about it, especially for the price (free). Of course I only subscribe to about five or six podcasts, listen to then within a week or so and then erase them, so my podcast needs are pretty simple.

  3. My podcast needs are so ridiculously limited that all I’ve ever even tried to use is the built-in app in iOS. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it did what I needed.

  4. I’ve used Overcast for years. Simple play controls, plus you can adjust some things such as the speed of playback. Reliable. Works with Car Play. I’ve been able to add as many episodes as I want, going back years.

  5. I like a lot about Podcast Guru. That it only gives access to the last 100 episodes is the only dealbreaker. And by that I don’t mean it storing or downloading 100 episodes. I meant that, for example, if the CIDU Podcast has done 140 episodes, as a Podcast Guru user I would only be able to see the most recent 100 to select and listen to. I believe only available for Android. https://reallybadapps.com/podcast-guru/

  6. Whatever you do, be sure to export your subscriptions before moving on. Been there, didn’t do that, lived to regret it.

  7. I like plain ole Google Podcasts. I have only listened to a few, but it’s easy to use.

  8. It’s a good app. I just don’t like that limitation, but I do still use it, just not on my primary device.

  9. Honestly, SBill, I accumulate podcasts at a faster rate than I could ever listen to them, so that’s a limitation I can happily live with.

  10. I only have two podcasts I listen to, and I don’t re-listen. One I view the YouTube videos they put up, and they other from their web site.

  11. CIDU Bill, I like to add podcasts for future listening and often use them for background while working. As such, I run through a lot of time. If a podcast has 200 episodes, being able to go back and listen from the beginning is great. I have also gone back and listened to ones I like again, after they have faded from memory a bit. I do accumulate a lot of podcasts to try, but not all work. Some have obnoxious hosts, others require too much attention (using them as background while working, remember). Some are great but update very infrequently. Anyway, I did find the Castbox limit of only 100 subscriptions a nuisance and found the ads intrusive. Don’t love it for sure. But I had some free credit on Google Play and they reduced the price of Castbox, so I went for the paid version. It’s better, but when they want more money in a year–yes, it’s an annual licence–I don’t know that I’ll go for that. I might switch to Podcast Guru and just use free Castbox to listen to those really old episodes I can’t reach with PG.

    Anyway, I’m getting the feeling you’re happy with Podcast Guru. If so, I’m glad to hear. I do think it has a lot going for it.

  12. Yes, thanks, Guru seems to be giving me what I need, with no trial-and-error.

    And like you say, if I need to hear something really old, I can always resurrect CastBox

  13. People use podcast apps?

    I download them from the web site, put them on my phone using a USB cable, and play them with a generic audio player. Why would I replace a system that simple with an app?

  14. People use them Otto-mobiles? I just put my two feet down on the ground and walk me to where I wants to go. If’n the good Lord wanted us to go someplace far away, He’d-a not born me right here.

  15. I would be siding with Carl Fink but the audio player on my mobile device (a phone with a prepaid data plan, not used for phone calls but solely to play Pokemon Go) would not accept playlists if I didn’t upgrade to the paid version. Bad if you want to listen to an audio book, where tracks are typically just 10 min or so. So I end up accepting the app inflation anyway.
    I also discovered that downloading individual podcast episodes sometimes requires installing such a newfangled podcast app contraption, and a subscription to future episodes, so that saving a single episode as an mp3 file to your computer doesn’t work or I can’t figure it out. I wouldn’t want my ‘phone’ to start downloading new episodes on its own so I miss out on those podcasts.

  16. It’s not free, but Downcast lets me customize almost everything and I’ve never really looked back after switching to it a couple of years ago.

    (P.S. Is this type of post still called a “bleg?”)

  17. CaroZ, I’m not sure this qualifies as a blog. In any case it pre-dates the word by about a year.

  18. You know, you can always have two podcast aggregators. I use CastBox as my main one, and another for the casts that don’t appear as often. It gets around the 100-cast limit.

  19. If you’re already subscribed to quite a few casts, you can use the export function to export them to a file, then use the import function on the new app.

  20. Thanks, Chak, but I just went old-school and copied down the names of my favorite podcasts on the app and them subscribed to them in the new app.

  21. Podcast? What kinda crazy devil talk is that? If’n ya wants ta be hearin’ folks jawin’ just walk yerself down to the general store and set a spell.

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