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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Using Overcast 3 for podcast triage

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Overcast 3 came out earlier this week, but I’ve been using a beta version for a while, and it’s changed the way that I plan my podcast playlist.

(First, I should say that if you’re someone who wants to carefully curate your podcast playlist, you should check out Supertop’s Castro, which is designed around personal curation and triage of podcast episodes. Overcast 3 makes triaging episodes easier, but Castro is all-in on the concept.)

Here’s how I used to use Overcast: I kept a playlist called The Playlist and almost every podcast I subscribed to would dump into it, with episodes from a few priority podcasts floating to the top. (Overcast pro tip: Did you know you can edit a playlist so that it automatically adds episodes of any podcast you select? And you can pick a subset from that list to be prioritized so that new episodes automatically appear at the top of the list?)

Now, with Overcast 3, I have a different approach. I now have two playlists. One, called Priority Playlist, basically functions as my play queue. That’s the stuff I will definitely listen to if I have the time, ordered in a way to keep me happy. A few of my must-listen podcasts add their episodes to this playlist automatically, but most don’t.

Setting my playlist settings (left) and adding an item to my playlist (right).

The second playlist is called All Episodes, and as the name would imply, it shows every podcast episode from every podcast I subscribe to, with the newest episodes at the top. From this list, I can scroll to see what’s new and if anything pops up as an immediate must-listen. When I find such an episode, I tap once to reveal Overcast 3’s new episode-action strip, tap the Add icon, and then tap “Add to Priority Playlist” or, if I’m really excited, “Play Next.” (The Play Next button adds the episode right below the currently playing episode; otherwise the episode gets dropped to the bottom of the playlist.)

Is this the most efficient way of triaging podcasts? Probably not. But it’s been working for me for the last few weeks. Unfortunately, as a work-from-home person, I don’t have as much time to listen to podcasts as I used to. This approach allows me to get my must-listens in, and then provide a menu of other stuff that I can add as time allows.

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