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If anything there's too many good podcasts - I usually set my device to keep the five most recent, and there are good shows I simply don't get to.

(I never could "zone out" and program while a podcast is on like some people, I need ambient/classical/electronic music to do that)

I almost never listen to podcasts for this reason, and because it is vastly more efficient to read than it is to listen to a couple of people talking who may or may not be sticking to the topic.

It's funny the market effect, if you're, say, John Dolan, it's vastly more time efficient to spend an hour and a half talking to your buddy and get paid for it than it is to spend many hours researching and writing a 1000 or 2000 word essay on a topic that nobody wants to pay for. It's kind of interesting the psychology here: people will pay for things which take hours out of their week, but won't pay for the thing which takes 3 minutes to read, even if the 3 minute thing contains more information. From my perspective; the denser information is more valuable!

Most of the podcasts I listen to are while doing things like exercise and housework that aren't compatible with reading.

The podcasts I listen to are all from the BBC, so they're scripted and produced for radio, rather than just being people chatting. Listen to e.g. [1] or [2] and it's all on topic (and being the BBC, ad-free).

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p066rd9t/episodes/downloads [2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006r4vz/episodes/downloads

The BBC's Podcasting House podcast [1] is excellent for discovering new, high quality stuff. They play you a single episode (often the first) of a different podcast every week. I've discovered some great shows through it.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05ltqxn/episodes/downloads

You just have to let go of the need to be "caught up" or hear everything. Most podcasts don't really need that much continuity, so the need to listen to them ALL or even the idea of a "backlog" is just FOMO.

Think of it more like the old days of broadcast radio or TV. You listened to whatever happened to be on while you were listening and if you didn't hear something. . . who cares it's just entertainment?

Most of my podcast subscriptions I listen to only rarely. It's more like a shortlist of channels that have things I might be interested in hearing.

I tend not to listen to serial podcasts for this reason (unless traveling and I can binge on the plane).

I love reading, but podcasts let me consume knowledge or entertainment during activities where reading isn't possible.

That being said, for me, the biggest downside of podcasts is that although I'm willing to pay, there's no easy method of discoverability of high-quality, ad-free podcasts.

edit: However, I jump around in media fairly often - I often go months without listening to podcasts, so I have no interest in paying a subscription fee. I just want to pay a per-episode rate and get DRM-free audio files that I can use as I wish.

> it's vastly more time efficient to spend an hour and a half talking to your buddy and get paid for it than it is to spend many hours researching and writing a 1000 or 2000 word essay on a topic

I don't know what kind of talks those are, but the podcasters I listen to spend a lot of time researching for the episodes. I'm guessing few people can just ad-lib 90 minutes of interesting stuff every week.

It's worth noting that that's not all types of podcasts.

Just like you get radio shows that are talk radio or on a specific subject you get podcasts that are more akin to radio plays, like welcome to night Vale.

it's difficult to read while walking your dog, or making dinner, or doing the dishes, etc. That's the value add of an audio-only format for me.

Doesn't do anything for me; I'd rather listen to music or learn a language if I need to hear noise during such activities.

You can certainly get a lot of semantic information crammed into a short piece of text, but an interview gives you the cadence of someone's voice, which may be important in its own way. Audio can be very dense, but in ways that aren't strictly linguistic. People also tend to express themselves differently in conversation than they do on the page, and listening to an interview with an interesting person may actually tell you more about them than their writing, or even a cleaned-up version rendered in text.

Like, which conveys the situation better, "Oh the humanity" or the audio as recorded (you can in this case ignore the video, which was recorded separately)? https://youtu.be/pUVDmXvXcbk?t=39

Where do you find them? I keep trying to get into podcasts (tech, computer science, military, history...) but I really struggle. A sea of ancient abandoned shows when I search on my iPhone, seems nothing still running? Where should I be looking?

For tech, Kara Swisher's Recode Decode is excellent.

I've yet to find any good History podcasts that serves good to great episodes on a regular basis either. The BBC's history podcast stood out as vaguely better. But I was always left craving for something more in-depth, like some of the better History lectures you can find on YouTube. That being said, there are a few great shows from time to time, like Slate's Slow Burn (on Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton) and Standoff (on the Ruby Ridge incident) or MSNBC's Bag Man (on Spiro Agnew).

I don't actually listen to many tech podcasts - instead I use them to get news/politics to cut down on mindless browsing.

NYT The Daily and NPR's Up First podcast can get you up to speed while doing all your daily hygiene stuff. And NPR's weekly politics roundup is good.

If you like history "Futility Closet" has a lot of good esoteric history stuff.

Reply All is eclectic and fun. Radiolab has good hard science stuff. Hidden Brain is more social sciences oriented.

There are a couple of open-source sites I work on to help devs find podcast content.

Qit is designed for finding/playing shows by topic, so you can (for example) search for shows about GraphQL: https://qit.cloud/search/graphql

devpodcasts.app lets you browse shows by latest release or by tag: https://devpodcasts.app/shows

Looks like devpodcasts.app is a bit behind though, so I'll write a ticket and get that fixed up soon :)

The Podcasts subreddit (https://reddit.com/r/podcasts) is full of recommendations. I also use PocketCasts, which has a "Discover" feature that I have used from time to time. Lastly, I've heard of several podcasts via word of mouth from other friends.

Why is abandoned a problem? If you're looking for books to read or TV shows to watch, do you avoid "abandoned" series?

Well... yeah if they’re about current affairs like the military or the current state of tech.

I don’t want to listen about a new fitness test introduced in 2011 that they’ve already replaced, or how they’re asking for feedback on programming language design changes they already made half a decade ago.

Also if I get into a podcast and it only has three episodes and then forgotten about I then have to go looking for a new one immediately rather than subscribing and then always having something to listen to.

I found a few gems on tastedive.com, soundcloud.com, and iTunes.

Upping the listening speed is the only cure I know of. Quite a few podcasters can be listened to exclusively at up to 2x the normal speed without significant impairment to their content.

Of course, some others talk so quickly that 1x is the best you can do.

I am one of those people who listens/watches all media at 2x speed. It takes some time to get used to and is nearly impossible without headphones. Some people do talk quickly enough that I can't listen to them while doing any complex activity (e.g. Mike Duncan's revolutions podcast). But most other podcasts aren't scripted, so 2x is easy enough for speakers like Joe Rogan and Dan Carlin.

I personally like to listen to podcasts to relax, zone out, or have some background noise on while I'm working (I work from home). If I were consuming them for informational/educational content, I think this would make sense, but I kind of like them being slower-paced and chill.

What music do you listen to?

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