Lean back and enjoy hand-selected podcasts with just one tap
There are millions of podcast episodes you could be hearing right now, with thousands more being published every day. When presented with an overwhelming number of unplayed podcasts, it can leave us in a position where we will make no choice at all. We at RadioPublic think listening to podcasts would benefit from a more lean back experience, one that asks you to give up a little control and give into intentional serendipity.
What if, instead of presenting endless choice, we can actually deliver a better way to explore podcasts? With stations, we introduce the opportunity to find a new show or a great episode, all within a simpler listening experience.
Stations make near limitless podcast choice more fun.
How did we get here?
When we reached out to podcast listeners, one thing we heard quite often was that they didn’t have the time to plan out what they were going to listen to, and they didn’t want to manage a queue of episodes. They were jumping in the car or late for work, and didn’t have time to select a podcast to listen to.
As RadioPublic’s Product Designer, I thought to myself, how might we solve that? I explored the idea that a listener would discover podcasts though the act of listening to an episode, skipping when a selection did not suit them. Looking through that lens, I found numerous analogies in radio, television, and online streaming. I also believed that these stations would become a powerful introduction to new podcasts, thanks to the huge catalog of hand-curated podcast collections and ongoing weekly curation efforts by our Podcast Librarian. Through continuous playback, RadioPublic could provide an ongoing listening experience organized around topics listeners know and love. Finally, we reinforce our efforts to help listeners by pairing stations with ideas for when and how to use your spare time while enjoying podcasts.
Our listener-centric categories on RadioPublic group together some of the most-heard and longest running podcasts alongside some new-to-the-scenes shows. Our categories are based on real listener input about how they choose, organize, and find shows (and when they listen to them). For our first curated stations, we highlight some of the most requested grouping of shows within these categories that are both narrow enough to make a station feel familiar, but broad enough that we’ll hopefully surprise you with something new, too.
What are some examples of our curated stations?
- How about starting your day with news shows like The Daily, Today, Explained, or NPR’s Up First?
- Or get inspired while you’re cooking a meal, paired with Bon Appetit Foodcast or Milk Street Radio.
- Even learn something new while you work out, while listening to Stuff You Should Know or Every Little Thing.
How do stations affect the current app?
You’ll initially find stations in the Explore section of our iPhone app. We’re using a new tile in the RadioPublic app to distinguish a station from a podcast: each contains station artwork, a title to give you a sense of what the station contains, and a description to give an idea of when and where to listen. When commuting, you can catch up on current events with Daily news, or you can reflect on recent games at the gym while listening to Sports discussion. Wherever you see a sound ripple icon–a visual cue to differentiate this kind of listening experience–you’ll find a station that will provide continuous playback for a listener.
When a listener opens a station, we provide even more detail into what they’ll hear during playback. When viewing a station, a listener will be able to see what shows are included, start listening to the station, and add the station to their RadioPublic home screen.
From the stations detail view you’ll find a short list of the shows included, and with a tap, you can start listening to a station devoted to keeping you up on the topic at hand. With a station, a listener can use their ears to sample a podcast: hear something you like, keep listening, or if it’s not your thing, skip it. Scanning the podcast world with a station means discovering more shows that you may have never heard in the first place.
Pivot to deep listening
We’ve also enabled listeners to pivot from listening to a podcast in a station to marathoning multiple episodes of a single show. If you fell in (awkward teenage) love with Mortified while listening to the Live Storytelling station, you’ll be able to navigate from the player to the show page, then you can marathon from the overflow menu ( … ) by tapping ‘Play Show’.
Play order design
Lastly, we want to assure that when you press play on a station, you get content that’s right for you. By design, we’ll respect the show’s natural play order, if it’s a daily or an episodic show, we’ll play you the most recent (unless you’ve heard it, of course) or if it’s a serialized show, you’ll start at episode one (or pick up where you left off). The station will continue to cycle through all the shows on the station to always serve you fresh audio.
RadioPublic is rolling stations out to our iOS users first, so if you’ve got an iPhone head on over to the app store and download or update RadioPublic. I’m super excited about this feature because it exposes people to so many great podcasts they may have never heard of (I just discovered and started following The Eater Upsell podcast through our Food & Drink station) and I hope you enjoy this new listening experience. If, while listening to one of our stations, you’ve got new station suggestions, have a hot tip for a podcast that’d be a great addition to an existing station, or just want to let us know how we can improve on this exciting feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.