My Favorite Podcasts in June 2013

Written by on in Berlin, Germany.

Podcasts are great to listen to when doing daily or weekly chores like shopping, cleaning, cooking, running or when you are on public transport. In short: every time your body works on auto pilot and your mind is idle.

Great podcast episodes engage you so much that you stop what you are doing to focus more on the topic. Or in other situations, you force yourself to continue the activity you are doing, just to able to finish listening that one episode. It’s those moments when you stay in the car, after you arrived at your destination or walk another round around the block of your home.

How I listen

I am using Downcast to listen to podcasts. Why not Instacast? you may ask. Well, simply because at the time when I switched from iTunes, Downcast wasn’t the prettier App but it had more of the features I wanted.

Today I would say they are basically identical feature wise and it comes down to personal taste. And besides you can exchange your subscription lists in seconds between both so you aren’t tied to the one you chose.

Because space is limited on my 16GB iPhone 4S I use Downcasts playlist feature to manage my subscriptions in two steps.

The first playlist marks all new episodes for streaming. That means they are instantly playable but not downloaded to device. I can read the titles and descriptions of each new episode decide wether to download it or not. Downloading means “listen to it later” just like saving an article to Instapaper, Pocket or Readability. The list is sorted descending to the episode release date so the newest episodes appear right on top.

The second playlist shows me all episodes that are already downloaded to the device. So a typical workflow would be to check the new episodes playlist every few days or - when I’m traveling - when I have a Wi-Fi connection. When I’m looking for something to listen to I can just browse through the list of episodes I’m interested in and are ready to start playing. The list is sorted ascending to the episode release date so the oldest episodes appear on top and I can listen through the them chronically.

Downcast for iOS

Update: RocketInk writes about why he doesn’t need a Podcast player for Mac OSX and is using Airfoil instead

What I listen to

Below listed in alphabetical order are the english-speaking podcasts I enjoy the most as of June 2013.

Friday Mixtape | Duncan Rawlinson

Weekly introduces me to new songs from independent artists at CD length. The selection covers most popular music genres such as Indie-Rock, Electronica, Hip Hop, RnB, Chillout or even classical pieces.


Generational | 77 Decibels

This show is a gold mine for small handy tips, gadgets and tools that make your life as a digital worker easier. I recommend this to all people who believe personal computing is about viruses, lost data, errors and Windows. No, these machines are there to help us and save us time. We just have to use them.

iTunes | Instacast | RSS

In Our Time | BBC Radio 4

Discussion show with Melvyn Bragg and guests. Topics are usually influential historic ideas and people in culture, history, philosophy, religion and science. Some of my favorite episodes are the one about Bertrand Russell and Epicureanism.

iTunes | RSS

Machtdose Podcast | Gregor Maria Schubert, Roland Graffé

Monthly podcast similar to the Friday Mixtape but with even more independent artists and lesser known genres. Many tracks are Creative Commons licensed and hand picked from music archives such as Which means it is also a great source for music to be used in videos or other projects.


Radiolab | WNYC

Probably the highest production value of all radio shows there are. Each episode sounds like a master piece delivered by the journalists, sound engineers and X behind the show. Just like This American Life there are episodes that are too US-centric for my taste but some of my favorites are Guts, Games and Colors.

iTunes | RSS

ShopTalk Show | Christ Coyier, Dave Rupert

The only Web Design podcast I can listen to. Or how a listener on iTunes once called it “an audio effects radio show that also features topics related to the web”. Listen to it to get the joke.
My favorites are the Rapid Fire episodes and the one with WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.

iTunes | RSS