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Two podcast apps give Apple stiff competitors – jj
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Two podcast apps give Apple stiff competitors

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There are thousands of podcasts and an ever increasing number of new apps through which to find them. I recently fooled around with two new ones: The sensibly named PodSearch is one; the cleverly named Overcast is another.

If you’ve ever listened to a podcast on an IOS device, you’ve most likely used the native app called simply Podcasts. It’s pretty to look at, does the job, but lacks a lot of bells and whistles. Apple, it seems, is more focused on getting its streaming service and credit card up and running than prettying up its Podcasts app.

Or maybe they’re just leaving the innovations to app developers, who are wasting no time trying to woo new listeners away from the native app.

Overcast has some great features, such as Smart Speed, Voice Boost and Smart Playlists. Smart Speed can be used to move things along faster in an episode by eliminating silence including pauses in speech or those dramatic ones. Voice Boost increases the volume to keep things on an even keel so there are no ear-piercing changes. It also claims to make listening in noisy places easier by making voices louder without damaging your ear drums.

Smart Playlists are perfect for someone with too many podcasts in his library to listen to all of them. It’s like a shuffle feature for indecisive people, or people who listen to podcasts in order to recommend them to others. Just touch an icon of a page with a plus sign on it and choose to make your own playlist or let the app create a Smart one. That way gives you an episode from each podcast that you have downloaded on Overcast, and you can shuffle them like a song playlist.

Hit the big plus sign in the top right corner to get to a page where you’ll find Most Recommended podcasts. They’re also categorized, so if you only like True Crime, you can find them all easily. On the same page, link your Twitter account to the app and get recommendations from people you follow on Titter.

Overcast can then read tweets from your timeline and see who you follow. The app says it can’t see your password, follow new people, mess with your profile, post tweets for you, see your email or access your direct messages. Linking accounts puts a new category on your browsing page — Recommendations From Twitter. Because you don’t have enough to listen to already.

PodcastSearch is for the listener who likes eye candy. Open it and right away you see photos with category names and a search field up top if you know what you’re looking for.

The bottom of the app has a row of icons: Categories, Top Shows, New Shows, MyPodSearch and a big old question mark with How To under it for the instruction followers among us (obviously not men).

MyPodSearch is just a shortcut you can set up that finds new podcasts with any of a set of keywords you’ve chosen. It’s great for people who don’t have a lot of time to browse.

Both apps let podcasters have their shows listed if they meet certain criteria. Both apps are free, but Overcast offers a premium subscription for $9.99 a year that removes banner adds and lets you upload your own files. The banner ads do not bother me.

So far Overcast’s Smart Playlist feature makes it my favorite of the two, but the look and maneuverability of PodSearch is really impressive.

This I learned from reading the Democrat-Gazette’s TV page last Thursday. Picture it: A podcast called Out on the Lanai features hosts and Golden Girls fanatics H. Alan Scott and Kerri Doherty listening to an episode and breaking it down. They bring in guests to help them do it and sometimes they are minor celebrities. Listen to the latest or scroll through episodes dating to 2015.

When looking for this podcast, I discovered there are at least three others dedicated to the iconic 1980s TV show. TYfBaP: The Golden Girls Podcast features Genevieve Rice and Anthony Desamito, who also are obsessive fans who invite a guest comedian to watch episodes with them. BTW, TYfBaP stands for “Thank you for being a podcast,” a cheeky nod to the sitcom’s hit theme song.

Let Them Eat Cheesecake, a tip of the hat to the Girls’ favorite problem-solving pie, features four one-named folks — Danny, Beth, Tawny and Corey — watching episodes and chatting about them.

Is there really that much left to say about Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia and Rose?

Who knew the City of Brotherly Love was so into podcasts that it has its own Philadelphia Podcast Festival? According to Insideradio.com’s “Podcast News Daily,” the festival has been around for six years. Its seventh started Wednesday and continues through July 29.

The festival offers 60 live podcasts at various Philadelphia venues over the course of 12 days. Insideradio.com reports that many of the shows are free or pay-what-you-wish.

All of the featured podcasts are native to Philadelphia and include names like Mueller, She Wrote; Yo, Is This Racist?; Breaking Mayberry; Alt-Black; and The Philly Blunt. For more information, visit phillypodcastfestival.com.

Might the time be nigh for an Arkansas Podcast Festival?

To recommend a podcast, report podcast news or tell us about an Arkansas podcast, email

jmcleod@arkansasonline.com

Style on 07/16/2019

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