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Find new and familiar podcasts with Stitcher Podcast Radio Android app

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Stitcher Podcast Radio not only creates playlists of all your favorite podcasts, but it's also a creative approach to discovering new ones.

Stitcher Podcast Radio is a database of podcasts organized by channels or various different categories. Under the "Topics" tab, which seems to function as the app's homepage, general subjects include comedy, news, business and politics, science and technology or arts and entertainment.

But click on any one of these, and you'll stumble upon hyper-specific topics. Click on "Arts & Entertainment," and you'll see full channels about film and photography, beer brewing, vegetarian eating and even magic. Under "Cultural Perspectives," I counted as many as 20 podcasts dedicated to Buddhism. It seems like there's something of interest to be discovered on Stitcher, no matter who you are.

Clearly, this is great way to learn about new show titles. Before downloading this app, my knowledge of great podcasts could be exclusively attributed to friends' recommendations and the rare accidental find on iTunes. While iTunes has tons and tons of shows to choose from, it's nearly impossible to search them all if you don't already know what you're looking for. Stitcher simplifies the discovery process by laying it all out in front of you.

At first, I was a little worried when I couldn't find some of my favorite podcasts under any obvious topic on Stitcher. However, I was able to track down The Tobolowsky FilesThis American Life and The Nerdist by using the app's search function. Just tap on your Droid's magnifying glass button, and type in the title you're looking for. Any shows that have a mass number of downloads seem easy to find, but it looks like your  obscure titles (such as the podcast your roommate records at his desk) might be more difficult to locate.

After you've accumulated a bunch of favorites, old stand-bys or podcasts that you're interested in checking out for the first time, you can create your own station, which is basically a playlist.

Stitcher runs pretty smoothly for an app that is live streaming large pieces of audio. One time, I had an issue when a show took an irritatingly long time to load, between two and three minutes, but I think that was caused by a weak Internet connection, and was no fault of the app.

One key issue I have with Stitcher is that it doesn't include a podcasts' full archives. Users only have access to the most recent episode of any given podcast. While this might not matter for time-sensitive podcasts, those focused on news or sports, it puts a damper on storytelling shows like The Tobolowsky Files that often continue from week to week. If a person were to try and drop in on a show like this for the first time, he or she would be unable to follow what was happening.

Another problem with this app is the fact that it is extremely sensitive to the touch. While scrolling through channels, I have accidentally launched podcasts that I didn't intend to. When you have to wait for a podcast to load every time this happens, it's irritating.

Stitcher is an effective way to discover new podcasts, and probably would be an excellent supplemental app on a road trip.

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