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Show HN: I made a Hacker News for podcasts (podcastrank.co)
367 points by podcastrank on Apr 16, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 132 comments

I'm half-joking, but I could use a "not just two guys joking around" tag. There's so many podcasts out there where I check them out because the topic sounds interesting but most of the episode time is given to 'two guys joking around'.

100% agree. And not just "the two guys joking around tag" but the "we recorded this in one take and then published straight from garage band." That would be a significant improvement over the podcasts discovery tools inside of every podcasting app.

That make it a lot easier for any of the new shows coming out that are trying to be like a Radiotopia or Gimlet style show, to be discovered.

I agree, It's easy to waste a lot of time on these podcasts. I hope that over time with the voting, the best stuff rises to the top

Can we have metadata ? Submittors can mark up "the talk starts at 1:22, topic X starts at 1:34, ..."?

Might be enough to just tag certain podcasts as "amateur"

I don't think that is such a great idea- Sometimes very professional people who are amateurs at audio production and amateurs at public speaking make awesome podcasts- The tag would need to be a lot more specific.

Agree!! Mixergy does almost zero post production but has amazing content if you're in the startup space.

This. In the "Haskell" episode of Programming Throwdown, they don't actually start talking about Haskell until 37 minutes in. ARGH.


While we're at it, some kind of "Does not interrupt the speaker" tag would be great. It absolutely drives me nuts, listening to stuff like This American Life or Radio Lab, where the person being interviewed never gets more than half a sentence out before the narrator overdubs themselves correcting or summarizing what the speaker is trying to say.

I find it incredibly obnoxious. You brought this person on to tell a story: let them tell their story, goddammit!

I feel the opposite. With those two shows the primary focus is telling a story. They aren't really conventional interview shows. It seems to me like a lot of the time, a narrator dubbing over the interviewee can help maintain the pace and focus of the show.

By commenting here, I do not want to be that guy that just comes up to say "I second this", but, in a way, this is what I am doing. I also find it terribly obnoxious, and, in some sense, completely paternalistic.

While on a broad reaching medium, like TV, when can accept that the presenter is trying to reach the least capable person out there in terms of understanding the message, on podcasts, being as they are so specific and targeted, doing the same just does not feel right (to me, at least).

If the presenter breaks the rhythm of a guest to explain what the guest is saying is like rubbing in your face and saying "I'm sorry you can't understand this, but I'll translate it to you". If we reached the podcast, we probably CAN understand what the other person is saying.

Thank you for pointing that out. It really gets to my nerves sometimes.

That or cases where you have several people debating and you always have a "joker" who tries his/her best to interrupt someone else with lame jokes.

Now you have me intrigued, I didn't even know there was another type of podcast.

Here are some popular and excellent podcasts that have great production value:




My favorite podcasts:

  This American Life
  99% Invisible

  Very good:
  Planet Money
  The Memory Palace [historical narratives] 
  The Moth 
  On the Media 
  Snap Judgement

  Radio Lab 
  Radio Diaries

  Occasionally good:
  The Truth [fictional radio dramas] 

Dan Carlin Hardcore History. It's not in often and when it is it can be a 21-hour series. The guy is brilliant and I could listen to him tell a story about the most boring man on the plant if he decided to.

I really love Revolutions [1] so now I'm excited to try this one! History podcasts for the win.

[1] http://www.revolutionspodcast.com/

Really good list! I'd move On The Media to Excellent, it's really cream of the crop. And I'd throw Skeptic's Guide to the Universe in there too, for anyone who likes science. If you like ancient history, add Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.

Agreed on On The Media. It's basically just meta-news, but stepping back and looking at the narratives being presented is really interesting. Their recent show about this history of political polling was fantastic.

One of my favourites: http://historyofphilosophy.net

Oh then you must try this: http://www.philosophizethis.org

Stephen West does an outstanding job of tracing the complete history of philosophy in the West and relating its ideas to modern thought and idioms, and uses humor effectively as well.

If you like Planet Money, you'd probably like "Odd Lots" by Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/podcasts/odd_lots

Great list! A couple more of my favorites are:

Planet Money: http://www.npr.org/sections/money/127413729/podcast/

Startup (also by Gimlet): https://gimletmedia.com/show/startup/

From my subscriptions list:

- Lore (http://www.lorepodcast.com/)

- Limetown (http://limetown.com)

- The Moth (http://themoth.org/)

- The NoSleep Podcast (http://www.thenosleeppodcast.com/)

- Criminal (http://thisiscriminal.com/)

- Snap Judgment (http://snapjudgment.org/podcast)

- The Black Tapes (http://theblacktapespodcast.com/)

Some of my favourites:



http://www.microbe.tv/ (home of This Week in Virology, TWiParasitism, and TWiMicrobiology).


If you are an engineering geek you may like omega tau: http://omegataupodcast.net/. Some episodes are in German but a lot are in English too.

Although... a lot of people do like the two guys joking around podcasts, if they are joking around about great topics.

Of course, I am biased, given that I make a two guys joking around podcast.

But usually that's because you already like the two guys. Few pairs can go off on a topic and not litter it with inside jokes that leave the new listener on the outside.

I would refer to them as a subject podcast vs. a personality podcast. A site could provide a determination on the type by allowing listeners to review the composition of a podcast (eg: this podcast is 20% subject, 80% personality).

If CarTalk were still being produced, it would have a large personality rating. If I had dismissed it based on the large personality rating, I would have missed out on Click and Clack. My life has been better because of their personalities!

Not sure how I'd feel about that, it would make it easy to miss worthwhile stuff like a lot of "Back to Work" or "Home Work" - the first in particular has a lot of wandering around on some episodes but also can have some real gems.

Seems like the scoring system could catch a lot of what you're concerned about.

or "came prepared with a topic", which is maybe what you're saying, but too many podcasts for a while were "So....episode 12...what do you want to talk about".

I don't see this as much these days, but perhaps because I started to look for "non-current events" podcasts knowing that they were recorded earlier and better prepared.

Good lord you're right. Nothing worse than two guys joking around!!


Maybe change "0 comments" to something like "Start a discussion" when there are no comments. Makes it seem like a graveyard when they're all empty.

I really like this. How does one go about learning more about improvements like these?

You're not going to find a list of these types of improvements that will apply directly to what you're working on, but any intro to UX book should help you get into the right mindset to identify them on your own. Design of Everyday Things is a good start for somebody with no knowledge at all of UX.

http://www.goodui.org/ is a good place to start.

"Don't make me think" by Steve Krug is a great place to start.


Try thinking a long the lines of "get the ball rolling", when designing interfaces where some regions must start from a blank slate, e.g. use placeholders, prompts, etc.

In my experience even seasoned designers do a poor job of this. They show you comps of with the perfect set up -- everything populated, beautiful photos uploaded by the user that are perfectly square, 100 comments on very post (or whatever the analog is for your app).

I've gotten a lot more insistent that designers show me "empty" designs where the user has just signed up and various corner cases like a photo that is really tall.

You just have to pay attention...look at the site you're posting on! hn says "discuss" instead of zero comments.


This is neat idea, killer feature would be RSS for all sections, so we can subscribe to it in podcast app. Wow. Meta podcast, user aggregated.

An RSS feed would be killer indeed.

Something like this maybe: anytime an entry pass a certain threshold of votes for the first time, add it to the feed. Each user can define the threshold in his account and get the feed from there.

First impression (Macbook Air 11"): 2/3 of the page are header and filters, I can view only 2 posts at first glance. That's pretty different from the functional design of HN.

Yep that stood out to me too http://postimg.org/image/kho7l7pyl/

Oh, when did you take that screenshot? That looks more compact than here: http://postimg.org/image/mcg0ql7ij/

Sorry, I should have made clear. That was my 1 minute of CSS tweaks.

I love that it's by episode and not the entire show.

While I don't know that I'd be a regular user or start discussions (I usually listen to episodes weeks after they come out), it's a cool tool for episode discovery.

I could really use something like this. It's a recurring problem I have: finding interesting podcast material to listen to while working out.

Podcast suggestions should remain on the front page longer than articles do in HN though. Since listening to a podcast is way more time consuming than reading an article.

Thanks for sharing!

I agree! that's why I included the other filters as well. A good podcast is still valuable a long time after creation/recording, unlike a news article..

Audiobooks work for me.

Very cool idea. I often struggle to think of a podcast when I really need one.

One of the challenges here is that, apparently, podcasts don't have very descriptive names. Maybe it's because HN has the same regular topics floating through, but I feel like I get a lot more of a preview from titles on HN than I do by things like...

"The Archers"

"Hello Internet #60: The Beautiful Game"


I suppose there's an expectation that podcasts don't need explanatory names because, well, they're not always about a specific thing and because they're expecting regular listeners to tune in. Perhaps find a way to automatically include the description of the podcast itself and/or encourage users to do the same manually?

I used to have this problem. It's solved 100% with a good podcasting app. You spend the time now and then to look for podcasts (not episodes) that might interest you. When you actually want to listen, they're already downloaded to your phone and ready to be browsed and listened to.

What podcasting app do you use?

I use Overcast and it works really great for this. Right now I have a bunch of episodes queued up but I still can see the latest.

the description(if added) is now only shown on the detail / show page with the comments. I agree it could be added to the index page as well. Thanks!

Has anyone else tuned in to Chris Gethard? His podcast "Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People" is great. It's like an evolution of "This American Life". Unedited, one hour discussions with random people, and Chris is a really good interviewer of random people. My favorite is his interview with " Ron Paul's baby" [1]. If you can get to the part where he starts talking about a carnival baby (15 or 30 mins in), it is hilarious from there forward.

[1] http://www.earwolf.com/episode/ron-pauls-baby/

That's a new favorite of mine.

Awesome job.

It seems you're missing a trick by not adding a player directly on your site.

No good reason to leave your site and listen to the podcast that is discovered.

Also, you could have a url that would auto play the currently highest rated podcast:


And also a radio version that cycled through the front page from top to bottom:


thanks for your suggestions! by adding the player you mean embedding if possible?

This is awesome! I'm an avid listener of podcasts, because I can learn stuff, listen to great people and interviews, broaden my ideas... All during what would otherwise be downtime (walking the dog, grocery shopping, driving, etc.)

There are some podcasts which I consider vital, but for most I don't care about the podcast itself but for the content of a given episode.

This app is awesome because it detaches content from podcast and helps discover cool episodes.

Wish you lots of luck!


Getting 500 errors on podcast comment/show pages. I get the idea though, I'm just not sure this is the best way to discover podcasts. To checkout a podcast takes quite a bit more time relative to a news article / blog post.

I think that this has the same issues as https://www.producthunt.com/podcasts, for me at least.

fixing some stuff, thanks for the feedback!

How did you implement scoring system? Is it simple: select max(score) from casts where submit_time > NOW - 7days; or something more sophisticated https://medium.com/hacking-and-gonzo/how-hacker-news-ranking... ?

it's indeed ordered by score, nothing fancy

I like this idea, but there's no interactivity (AFAICT) with my podcast app. I use the Pocket Casts app exclusively for all my podcast listening. I'd love if clicking one of these links could open the podcast in the app for me. I have no interest in browsing some podcaster's blog or listening through my browser.

Obviously I could look up specific episodes in my app after seeing it on your site, but that's annoying enough that I don't think I would keep it up.

An alternative idea is to build an app from this idea. I know that's a lot of work, but I might pay for that if it is a really good podcasting app. Look to Pocket Casts for inspiration.

thanks for the feedback, I'll have a look into integration with other services

I've been looking for something like this--podcast discovery is severely lacking right now(or I don't know where to look!). Excited to try this out--thanks!

I'll be sure to get to send you some feedback once I've used it for a while. :)

Awesome, though I'd love to see a line or two under the title with the show notes (if they have them embedded). For those not already knowing about the hilarious podcast, The title is precious little to go on.

Immediately discovered at least a half dozen 'casts I was unaware of and will now listen to. Thank you!

Weirdly fascinating to see BBC Radio 4's long running agricultural soap 'The Archers' on the list.

This looks really interesting. One thing I noticed is that you do not have a section for sports podcasts. Is that not your target demographic or just nothing was submitted in that area yet?

Why is there no downvoting? Or do you feel your algorithm handles that?

There was an episode of on podcast I listen to I thought was really poor, and would have voted down. left a comment instead

downvoting will be added soon!

Cool, I immediately registered and posted a link (The Ray Wenderlich podcast). Two suggestions though, iTunes, Google, etc. already have decently robust search around podcasts, do you have any plans to reach out to various dev communities (reddit, iOS, Rails, whatever) and getting them to come to you? And then I think the tag system is crucial, for instance tags can't be given a space and custom tags are much less likely to get lots of content then presets.

Awesome project!

I'm still working on the tag system but yes there could be lot's of different types of communities and podcasts. The challenge is to get the filtering and ux right!

Awesome site :) I get most of my HN info through the JSON feed. It might be something to implement in the future - I'd be delighted to add it to my script.

What about adding additional tags or attributes so we can filter by length of time, date published (vs date submitted to your site), publisher (npr, radiotopia, etc), guests (i.e., i liked this guest on Marc Maron's podcast, where else can I find him?), or sub-genre (i like true crime podcasts and sometimes I get that on Criminal, sometimes I get that on This American Life)

Totally agree, length would be hugely useful so you know what you're getting into! :)

good suggestions, I'll think about implementing some of these!

I'd buy you a beer if you could find a way to open the podcast episode directly on Podcast Addict and other apps when you click on it.

Ah, found a way! If you click on Download in the Podbay page, Podcast Addict recognises the file and allows you to open it.

Does anyone have an efficient way to consume podcasts? If I want to quickly read an article I can skim certain sections and skip others etc., but there is rarely such indexing for a podcast and I would have to skip forward, listen for a lot of seconds to get context before I know if it's somewhere to skip past or not.

some podcasts have chapter marks.

They allow you to do just that. Anyway, check it out. I use the Overcast podcast client (iOS), which supports this (among others).

Some podcasts even provide full transcripts (e. g, Freakonomics).

If the podcast provides neither of these then it's not feasible to skim it efficiently, in my opinion.

I like this, but I think it needs a little more emphasis on the UX of what you are going to listen to and for how long. Perhaps even embed the player under the link?

How about a play count as a measure of popularity instead of just discussions? HN works because it abstracts user behaviour to a points score.

It's halfway there for me - or at least, half of my expectations of what it would be. I was hoping it would be more along the lines of (or additionally) an HN for new podcasts. Over time, the front page will soon be a rotating list of the same selection of programmes, won't it?

the front page is only for episodes submitted in the last week

If only each one had a play button....

This is a great idea.

I wonder whether you could do the same for TV/movies currently on catch-up/streaming.

I wonder if movies and certainly TV series are too much of a time involvment to get a good ranking.

What about music?

Nice. Always looking for discovering new podcast.

Having the duration of the podcast would be handy.

I'm not sure if it's intentional, but you can up vote your own posts...

Thanks for sharing your work.

Would you consider adding a "gaming" category?

Can you change the subscription confirmation email subject to include your site's title?

From "Confirmation instructions" to "PodcastRank Confirmation Instructions"?

Looks great!

thanks for your feedback! will add those things

I really like this idea. But I find it somewhat annoying that the "new" tab also sort by popularity. Shouldn't it only sort by posting date?

Maybe add a date in the index view when stuff was posted?

Great idea! What about allowing us to login with our existing HN accounts or perhaps Google accounts, etc. in addition to creating a new account?

Nice idea, minor feedback: it would be nice if the page didn't scroll up when you select categories/filters (using mobile Chrome).

The page scrolls up because it reloads.

OK, so my request is more AJAX , less page loading :)

Anyone ever consider an HN for email newsletters?

I think the large header takes up valuable screen space. The thin headers on Hacker News and Reddit are the right way to go IMO.

I agree, the ui needs more work!

No offence, but this seems like it would be better as a Reddit sub. Not everything needs to be the HN of something.

I had the same thought. Are there any advantages to the user in having it be a separate site?

so much more possibilities with a dedicated platform including the tags/filtering, favorites, recommendations etc

What's the difference between business, entrepreneur, and startup? I'd love to see a productivity tag.

Can you add a favicon? I bookmarked the site but the icon is blank.

Um, it's not fair to liken yourself to hacker news when you refuse to give me a podcast without entering my email. And appear to be full of ads.

{Edit: Intensify discontent after trying to use)

i miss This Developer's Life. :(

I wonder what happened to Rob Conery and Scott Hanselman that they decided to end it.

simple podcast discovery and upvoting

Logo proposal: Pᴚ

Design suggestion: Lose the header


No science category?

how do you know if its podcast or just an article?

Great idea, and a good start on implementation.

make an RSS feed, please!

Super useful. Thanks.

I'd start submitting your site to different subreddits to ensure a diverse selection in your listings. Hold off on submitting to Designer News though, until you improve the site UX. As it is now, they will completely ignore it.

Still, it looks like you're off to a good start!

thanks for the feedback, what aspects of the UX need improvement right now? Mobile?

I'd give it a more professional look. Branding can go a long way here.

Very nice.


Why not?

The site is a bit odd without JavaScript enabled (I have noscript) all the arrows don't work. Not a big deal for me I can just enable it back, but for others it might be. SVG's could be used instead of fonts for icons.

Nice project but hacker news is far more than just upvoting and commenting on items. Its the community here that makes it different.

I agree. There are a lot of thing that are important, it's not only a simple UI.

On important part is the moderation to keep the discussion civil and measures against spam and voting rings. This is invisible and sometimes difficult to spot, most people just notice only the good quality of the discussion.

Another important point is the community. It's important to attract and keep a good and wide community. For most topics, you'll find here one or two experts that can comment to counter balance the hype of the article and answer the unclear details. Sometimes the comments are better than the article.

> Sometimes the comments are better than the article.

Yup, and the first few weeks when I first discovered HackerNews from Google search results a number of years ago, if it wasn't an "Ask HN" I'll admit I didn't know there was an article -- the comments were good enough not to miss it!

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