Podcasting, apps, directories & strategies


My main criticism of FLF is that all the shows are on the same feed, which makes it hard to listen to only the shows you want. I’ve unsubscribed more than once to a show I was interested in just because the feed was so cluttered with other stuff.

Actually, that’s my second biggest criticism. My biggest criticism of FLF is the overt Presbyterian propaganda. I much prefer the subtle and more nuanced Presbyterian propaganda of the SanityVerse. :stuck_out_tongue:


If I remember correctly, they will eventually migrate to their own app to disambiguate the feed, which I’m all for - but I agree with you: the Apple podcast app makes sorting and organizing episodes nigh impossible, so there’s no such thing as a straightforward listen if I’m wanting to hear just one show.

This is probably also necessary because I expect that eventually, shows like CrossPolitic, AD Robles, and The Patriarchy Podcast won’t be permitted on Apple’s podcast app.

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I use an Android app called DoggCatcher, which I’ve used since 2014. I have no clue where the feeds come from (Apple vs whatever else), but I’m always able to search to find what I’m looking for. Having a FLF app would be an improvement over one feed with all the eps jumbled together, but that still sounds kinda annoying to me to have a dedicated app just for more podcasts. But I guess this is a “Boo-hoo, whiteboy” kinda thing.

2 posts were split to a new topic: Oh no! It’s an iOS vs Android thread

Podcasting is the last bastion of the open web.

DoggCatcher is probably like most other apps, simply searching the most comprehensive podcast directory—Apple’s.

Apple still allows subscribing directly to the RSS feed of a podcast that is not in its directory. In other words, if Apple refuses to list a show in its directory, you won’t be able to search for it in their app, but you’ll still be able to subscribe in their app and listen with the rss feed. I suspect this will continue to be the case. There are plenty of private podcasts that people want to be able to listen to in a podcast app but don’t list in the big directories. Some of them are even password protected (though I don’t know if Apple supports that, several other apps do).

Various companies have tried to move “beyond” the feed-based open-web roots of podcasting. Most recently and most dangerously, Spotify is attempting to co-opt podcasting to juice its library with listening material that it doesn’t have to pay for.

I’m not aware of the FLF plan to move out of actual podcasting into their own app, but it’s a terrible idea that has been tried numerous times and always failed. People want to be able to pull their listening all together in one place. That is part of why it has been hard for us to resist putting our shows on Spotify. We’ve had people request it because that’s where they listen now. (I’ve got a lot more thoughts on Spotify, but no time right now. At any rate, Spotify hasn’t succeeded in destroying podcasting yet. We’ll see if they succeed where other less-powerful companies have failed.) It’s just as bad an idea to force a whole bunch of shows together and not let people listen to the ones they want as it is to pull them all out of the open podcasting world and into their own app. Both are decisions at the expense of the listener for the sake of appearances (eg juiced download numbers). Nor does it help in the slightest with availability if Apple takes action. Apple has much more power over you if you are depending on your own custom app for distribution to iOS listeners.

I used to be subscribed to CrossPolitic, but unsubscribed when they started pushing a bunch of other shows on me that I wasn’t interested in. Of course, their download numbers quadrupled, and they made a big deal out of how fast they were growing. I was pretty disgusted when I saw them talking about how fast they were growing when most of it was obviously just a result of them stuffing their feed. I’m sure they were adding listeners prior to that decision, but I’m guessing most (and especially the best) of their shows has been hurt in overall listenership by their decision.

That’s exactly my experience. Sometimes I will re-subscribe if I know they’re going to have a guest on I’d like to hear. Often I’ll give it another try (“Was is really that bad? It couldn’t have been!”). But then I’ll usually unsub again after about a week.

I hadn’t thought about how that inflates the download numbers. When I was subscribed, I would routinely delete episodes that downloaded automatically without listening to them. Most of the episodes, actually.

I share your main criticism regarding FLF. I’ve pretty much stopped listening to anything there. I’ve emailed about it, but it’s how they want to do things. Their shows, their decision. But I have a job and a family and I just got tired of sifting though it constantly.

Edit: Not to be too critical. I like their main show. The other stuff is probably good too. Glad they are doing what they are doing.

Yeah, talking about # of downloads is almost as dumb as talking about being in XYZ million homes because you are paying for a slot on DirectTV on channel 4000 or whatever. That don’t impress me much. You’ve already got a website, and there are 3.9 billion people online. Why not go with that number?



To clarify, I believe I heard about the plans for an app when Theology Pugcast announced they were joining FLF. It wasn’t a formal announcement, and Pastor Chris could have either misheard or misspoken.

I agree it’s generally a bad idea to spin off your own app, but I think the potential exists within FLF to make it a successful endeavor. Since their aim is to be multimedia, wrapping up the CrossPolitic webzine, the various podcasts, the “television shows,” and their club member content into one place might make the model feasible (for once).

This is me being optimistic; not necessarily me disagreeing with you.

I meant it both in that sense and also in the sense of pulling your content off of the aggregators, though that need not follow. If anybody could pull that off to good effect, it would be NPR, yet they’ve left their shows in the Apple podcast aggregator. Anyway, if they go for it, I hope they allow people to subscribe within the app to just the shows they want to listen to, and I wish them all the best, regardless.

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I know! It’s just the worst. And it really is my main criticism.

I mean, I understand that they have their convictions, and that’s fine. But I don’t want to be inundated by it every episode! Like you, I have a job and a family, and sifting through admonitions about sprinkling my babies is not something I appreciate. I mean, I have my convictions, too, and we don’t need to argue about it all the time online. What is this, 2012? Props to you for emailing them about it. I don’t expect it to change their mind, but is it too much to hope they would tone it down for the rest of us?

…Wait, you were talking about the Presbyterian propaganda, right?


I use Downcast. It let’s you have feeds that you don’t necessarily download. I usually go in once a week and grab the CrossPolitic show.

I regularly listen to Crosspolitic…and they have certainly announced there that they intend to produce an app for the FLF network.

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