Spotlight: Dealing with podcasts listening overload


We each have podcast shows that we only sometimes listen to. We like these shows, but we don’t love them to the point of listening to every episode. How do we stay aware of new episodes from these shows we only just like… without getting swamped?

In this Podcaster Community Spotlight we’re going to talk about, and share, ways to solve that problem.


:thinking: This topic is one of the Podcaster Community’s occasional Spotlights.

Each spotlight is an opportunity for the entire Podcaster Community: To provide deep, generous feedback on someone’s work; To brainstorm and give first-impressions on someone’s idea; To investigate or problem-solve someone’s issue.

If we actually subscribe to all those many shows in our podcast player… we get swamped with too many “next to listen to” episodes. Not good.

We can try to remember to navigate to each of the shows we like and then scroll back through their recent episodes. Also, not good.

Instead, what if there was a single place you could look, that would simply have a listing of all the new episodes, from all the shows you choose?

No algorithm messing with what we see. No ads. No paid placements. When you look, it just says: Here are the 15 new episodes from all those shows you sort of like enough to sometimes listen to.

And when you occasionally spot a juicy episode you really do want to listen to, go to your podcast player and add just that one episode.

First questions for you:

Is this a problem you have?

Is this a problem, but you didn’t realize it?

And—just a quick guess off the top of your head—how many shows do you wish you could follow like this?



Plus, we’re going to discuss this topic next week in the Spotlight Idea Club meeting, April 2, 2024 at 3 p.m. EDT. Zoom info here:

Christi Cassidy is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Spotlight Idea Club Zoom Meeting - April 2, 2024
Time: Apr 2, 2024 03:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 759 0522 3688
Passcode: 3gDjDZ


So, I respectfully disagree. There are so many show I love but I don’t listen too because I am unwilling to invest the time unless I know the payoff is going to be worth it.

I love Seth Godin but I haven’t listened to Akimbo in over a year. I love Tim Ferriss but I can’t listen to 2 hours plus of material to extract relevant takeaways. My time is too precious and I can’t think of any show that pays off in excess of my investment in time. 99% of podcasts fail in rewarding listeners in actionable take-aways. Perhaps there are a few shows that reward listeners with feeling less lonely by a sense of community?

Until we get as disciplined, as networked television is, (which I prey we will not) then I guess our shows are going to be hard to grow because we are not optimizing for growth. We are optimizing for value or usefulness or connection. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature! Long may our inefficiencies continue.

God bless our inefficiency!

Be awesome everyone!


sorry @craigconstantine , on reflection I realise my wording is clumsy. What I mean is that I agree with you but the issue you’ve spotted goes deeper to shows that we love as well as we like. Thanks for raising this - it’s fundamental to effective show design.


Thanks for the clarification @Jey

I have ~50 shows, that have episodes in my podcast player with ready-to-listen episodes.

Only a very small few of those are actually subscribed to all new episodes.

And then I have ~75 more shows (those from everyone I know, many big shows that are well know) which I then follow not in my podcast player.

Yesterday I opened my feed reader to see what podcasts had new episodes I might like…

I read through those titles, and the episode descriptions… and didn’t decide to add any of those specific episodes to my podcast player’s queue.



So what I’ve started doing for shows than run over an hour is test them for value (to me) before I listen.

e.g. I love Cal Newport but his shows run long. Fine if it’s relevant. But a recent show was called:
An Important Message On AI & Productivity: How To Get Ahead While Others Panic | Cal Newport

But it runs for one and a half hours. So I get AI to use the transcript to generate a mind map of the main themes and subtopics and this is what I got

It turns out this is an opinion piece. Speculation at the highest level but that’s not something I want to invest in. No real actionable take-aways. I pass. (Actually I did listen to confirm my test on the lack of actionable content was correct - it was).

The lack of the content that I’m seeking does not make this a bad show - it’s just not for me, this time.

I wish I could figure out how to automate this process. It takes me about 10 minutes to create the mind map per show.

But one tangential thought - I wonder if my own output would pass my test!!!

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That’s an interesting way to do it. I considered doing something like that—I think I’ve even seen a service that will do for you; It’s meant to be for doing your own podcast episode notes, but obviously you could upload any audio. Anyway, it’s tangential to the focus of this Spotlight ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Those who do…

What do you use for reading RSS feeds?

As a web site: Want to just use your web browser to visit a web site that has all your feeds? Think: A stream of what’s new… without any algorithms or paid placements or shared things . . . just a list of what you want to keep up with.

:thinking: Don’t be confused/distracted by Feedbin’s ability to sync with all sorts of other feed readers. For our purposes, it’s simply a web site, where you can enter feeds for it to assemble for you to read.

Apple universe — As a stand alone app: Want to run an app on all your devices? Everything stay’s synchronized, so wherever you open the app, it knows what’s new, and what you’ve already read.

What about free, and Windows options?

Anyone have any suggestions for free options?

Any suggestions for Windows platform options?

Two thoughts I have experimented with

  • a different player app just for the ones I want to keep track of and not listen all of the time. I then use my ‘usual’ listening app to stay less cluttered and listen to my regulars.

  • Podchaser as a website to go to where I create favourites and lists of podcasts I listen to.

Part of the question is - what job am I asking podcasts to do for me? Entertain, educate, inform, distract, give me the slow version of thoughtful news?

I have missed your alternative views @jey always thought provoking - thank you.

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We had a fun get-together today at the Spotlight Idea Club. For one reason and another, it was a small group today, yet animated (you’ll see why).

Here is the Dropbox link to view the recording, and it should work.

Here are some things we discussed:
:bulb: the Spotlight topic, which was the overload of podcasts we all want to listen to, and how do we make the time?
:books: the excellent resources The Practice by Seth Godin and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon (also the author of Steal Like an Artist)
:writing_hand: some of the community resources for podcasters, including PodMatch
:100: the value of community

And we hope @maryjlrowe got her internet back after the storms!

@ideaclub @supporters @craigconstantine @CatherineJ @ChristiCassidy


Thanks @ChristiCassidy for leading the Zoom, recording, dropbox share, notes and posting :raised_hands:

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@craigconstantine @ChristiCassidy I took Craig’s suggestion and read Show Your Work. It’s an easy, but highly valuable read. I would second Craig’s recommendation. The author does a good job of spurring/guiding/encouraging creative work in an engaging manner.