Podcast Discovery

How do people here discover new podcasts, particularly in our Mac/tech world? Obviously we are all here consolidated around MPU - which is a great podcast with longevity. Alongside it, I’m sure we all know and listen to ATP, The Talk Show, etc. but how do people find “the long tail”?

There must be other great podcasts out there that don’t have the same awareness. But how do we find them?

Podcast discovery still seems really broken, in that there doesn’t seem to be a way to dig down beyond the big ones that everybody knows. I appreciate that each of the major podcast apps seem to have a least a small amount of discovery built-in, but while it may deliver for some, they’re not delivering for me.

It would be great if podcast discovery could be improved.

Can anybody suggest ways to find new (to me) podcasts?

I just go into pocketcast app on my iPhone and enter some key words for searching

examples are

I started listening to podcasts in April 2005. Long story, but it was an article of a big media outlet that linked to a “podcast” covering the article’s topic (that was my first encounter with the word “podcast” and the concept behind it). Back in those days, there were not so many of them. No networks. Mostly individuals with shows that were honest, direct and a joy to listen to. Those podcasters recommended each other. That is how I discovered most of the shows.

These days, podcasts have changed dramatically. The charm of those early days seems to have gone. It is about networks again. “Old media” has discovered podcasts. And the “new media” has launched their own networks (like Relay.fm). Successful podcasts were able to create their own networks. This is a tremendous achievement for those networks, but … I miss the good old days when podcasts became a thing.

These days, I discover new podcasts in Apple Podcasts or back when I used Overcast in Overcast’s directory. But those are the usual suspects: shows from big media outlets or “new” networks. When I ask myself what show I have discovered during the last 5 years and which of those discoveries I am listening to regularly, the answer is: just two (both of them podcasts of German broadcasters).

I have reduced the number of podcasts I listen to significantly (because many of them just do not work for me). And I fail to find good new ones.


I am often frustrated w/ trying to find specific content. I search for people being interviewed or keywords and mostly come up empty. The podcast app search engines are fairly limited, and their UI/UX is bad.

TL;DR - I have no good answers for you.

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Great answer from @Christian. I totally agree and also have cut down on Apple related podcasts that I follow.

Most just offer variations of the same news, how to’s, and speculation of what Apple might do. Some throw in other topics like politics, baseball, and ‘the latest expensive thing I just purchased’ as filler.

I found something unique around ten or eleven years ago and still listen to MPU. And I have a handful of other podcasts that I check each week but most of the ones I follow are general tech news, finance, and politics.

If you Google ‘podcast directories’ you will find Apple’s, Spotify’s, and Amazon’s, and you can use search terms like ‘iPod podcasts’ and find niche podcasts like iPad Pros. Searching for ‘Mac lawyer’ should lead you to iphonejd.com and Jeff Richardson’s podcast. Get creative and you might find another gem like MacPowerUsers.

I used to work with multiple platforms and occasionally check out what Microsoft and Google are doing and those frequently include some Apple content. And for something different check out the expert Mac users at https://officehours.global/ if you are interested in video about AV, video production, sound, streaming, music, cooking, and . . .

Good hunting.


Word of mouth or people from other podcasts coming on to a podcast I already listen to.

So, my suggestion is ask friends, family, and coworkers!

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Came in to say this. I ask my friends. Or on a post like this. If everyone listed their top 3 or 5 that you don’t think people at MPU are already subscribed to, we’d have a great list of ones to try.

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I found MPU because of a reference iMyke/Myke Hurley made on another Relay network podcast, The Pen Addict.

I occasipnally Google for Podcast and [name or subject]

I check links in Show Notes

I see a new thread in the future :crystal_ball:

I’ve just gone through a complete podcast clean out.
I’m now ‘following’ 9 podcasts and have ended all my paid for subscriptions - aside from Stratechery / Dithering which will run out when it renews. Though might keep it going.

ListenNotes, and going through everything else a person does has unearthed some interesting shows. I don’t listen to a lot of shows with a highly produced sound, but finding what else a producer has done has panned out.

I usually listen to an episode of any show I come across, even if I know it’s going to be awful. (I do skip forward generously.) That’s given me a good sense of whether I’ll like or learn what I’m after from a new show. I have a good sense of which episodes in a feed are likely to have the most unique contributions so I’ll often enjoy those and then set new episodes to Do Nothing in Castro.

It’s not too different from how I learn a topic via successive google searches until I’m using the right terminology to find the experts talking to each other.

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I use Listen Notes

It has a great search feature for keywords.

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I find podcasts through recommendations on places like this, recommendations on podcasts I already listen to, and podcast hosts appearing as guests on podcasts I already listen to.

One morning a few months ago, I thought to myself that I really don’t know enough about Napoleon, and later that day one of the podcasts I listen to praised this podcast.

That was a delightful coincidence!

My problem is not finding new podcasts. My problem is prioritizing the podcasts I already subscribe to, because I am never going to listen to all of them.

I feel the same way about all kinds of “content discovery” technologies. My read-it-later articles list, video wishlist, and to-be-read books lists are all longer than I’ll ever get to. I don’t need or want new “content discovery” technologies.

I’ve changed podcast apps in the past just because some had better discovery than others. I used to view it as an essential part of the app. But I found most aren’t great at offering a variety of shows. I’ve found Pocket Casts (my app of choice) offers the most titles in their discovery sections, but a lot of them appear in the “what’s popular right now” list – a list that seems to never change.

When it comes to music and podcasts, I’m extremely picky. That doesn’t help, either. I’m easily turned off by over enthusiastic hosts, excessive off-topic rambling, annoying hosts, fake banter, the list goes on.

Another thing that seems to be worse now is the cross promotion. I’ll download the latest episode of a podcast and it’ll be an episode belonging to a different show – something posted by their sister network in the place of my regular show. I make it a rule to never give these “shows I didn’t ask to see in my feed” a chance. If you snuck into my phone, you don’t deserve me as a listener. Instant delete. If it happens too often, I unsubscribe from the original show too. Just give me what I want, nothing more.

All that said, I actually discovered a show on my own using Pocket Casts not that long ago. It’s called “The Letter” about a crime in 1996. It started out okay, but it’s taken 8 episodes to get to the contents of this letter, and the letter was short, and hardly worth basing a podcast on – my opinion. I’m sticking with it though as I think we’re getting toward the end.

Like others though, my full slate of podcasts is now down to just a few. Spotify exclusives are out, cross promoted shows are out, and I’m down to the ones I genuinely like. For anyone interested they are:

  • Accidental Tech. Probably my fav show each week. I like how they talk about tech but it’s not always mainstream stuff. It’s John calibrating a TV, Marco buying a watch to check tides that he attaches to his new truck, and Casy futzing with garage door openers and light switches.

  • Focused. I’ve learned a lot from these guys, and I appreciate their insights, particularly David’s. I can get overwhelmed listening to productivity tips, but they keep it interesting and rarely is there an episode I can’t glean something from.

  • Heavyweight. I stopped listening when it went Spotify-exclusive, but I recently discovered an RSS feed someone set up (check the HW sub on Reddit) which lets me get this show back in Pocket Casts.

  • Criminal. Great show, short, to the point. Too much cross promotion with other shows!

  • 2 Bears 1 Cave. When I need a laugh and an hour of utter nonsense.

  • Ezra Klein Show. Always an hour longer than I want it to be, but sometimes worth a listen. Why do smart New York Times people talk so fast? LOL

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You might also like “This Is Love.” Same format, same host, slightly different subject matter.

One thing I love about “Criminal” is that it’s not a true crime podcast. It’s a podcast about events that involve crime somehow.

And thank you for the pointer about the Heavyweight RSS feed. I used to really like that podcast–but not enough to follow it to Spotify.

I recently read that Spotify’s exclusivity strategy is struggling. And I said: “Good.” I’d like this ONE MEDIUM to remain largely free from monopolization, please. Also, there’s no individual podcast I care about enough to run a separate audio app to enjoy it.


And to save my fellow Heavyweight fans a trip to Google:


I suppose I could have done the same — well done :smiley:

I don’t listen to “This is Love” because they broke my cross promotion rule. I turned on Criminal one day while out on a walk, not paying full attention. 10 mins in I realized it wasn’t Criminal at all — they snuck one in on me. This is Love is dead to me. Sneaky sneaky. :stuck_out_tongue:

You noted its existence. So it was a team effort. High fives!

Regarding cross-promotion: That’s one of the ways I find new podcasts to listen to. Cross-promotions are often annoying, but easy to ignore, and occasionally you find a good one.

Happened to me just this morning. A few days ago, Serial dropped a new three-part series in its feed, “We Were Three.” That’s arguably cross-promotion, and I ignored it. But This American Life included the first episode in its podcast Sunday, and I am listening now and it’s good, so now I’ve added the second two episodes to my queue.

This recent discussion illustrates my earlier comment: FINDING new podcasts (and articles and books to read, and videos and TV shows to watch) is not a problem for me. They come to me effortlessly. I wish I got fewer of them. The problem is triaging the ones I actually do consume.

I was talking to my wife just yesterday about this, I used to find all kinds of interesting ones via apple, ‘recommenations’ or ‘you would like’, that seems to work in a different way now and a worse one.