Castro Podcast Player update brings new Discovery section with ...

I’ve mentioned this in a prior post HERE, but As a VP of Sales there’s a never ending list of things to do, learn and improve on. I also wrote about the fact that as a Stretch VP, I am constantly on the hunt for new content and advice from those that have paved the way in which I can learn from in my role as a VP of Sales.

One of the things that has worked for me to tackle the never ending to do list while sharpening my own saw – is listening to an evolving Podcast collection (My Top 10 Podcasts for VP of Sales HERE) while going for a quick morning or lunch run. I often return back with new ideas, thoughts and motivation to implement a new idea or tackle a challenge with a different perspective and attention. Shout-out all you Podcast creators!!

But…here’s the deal. Podcast players suck. Seriously. I’ve tried them all. If its in Apple’s App Store – I’ve tried it. And for one reason or another – inevitably couldn’t adopt it and left me feeling like there was a huge opportunity for someone to step up and change the game. That is until I found CASTRO!

Which leads me to this slightly off-topic, unpaid for and un-sponsored (yet) post on why Castro is for Closers! And why, if you love Podcasts as much as I do – you should check it out. After previously vowing never to pay for a podcast app, I quickly upgraded willingly to Castro Plus because I love it so much. (Disclosure – There is no Affiliate Link or any other affiliation with Castro – I looked!).

Why does Castro rock so much? Here you go:

The QUEUE.

Castro’s Inbox and Queue system is by far my most favorite feature. The problem with all the other podcast players I’ve used previously is you either have to subscribe or not subscribe to a show. IF you subscribe – it floods your phone and takes up precious storage on podcasts you may not even want to listen to. The process of cleaning this out and identifying which ones to listen to is cumbersome and horrible. If you don’t subscribe, you miss episode releases or may finally find something you want to listen to and have to play over data, or wait to download. Its a terrible UI and had me shocked that every good thing about Podcasts was dependent on a tired process.

Wish Castro – you can subscribe to as many shows as you like without clogging up your playlists or storage. In fact, Castro will even notify you when new episodes are released. Now comes the fun part. You get to decide what makes it past the gatekeeper and into your ears. Once you are inside the “inbox”, you make your way through available shows from the subscriptions you set up. If you’d like to listen to one, just add it to the Top or Bottom of your queue. You can play it immediately from the inbox and just as easily – archive it from the inbox so it doesn’t clutter your feed. Its like a friend consistently recommending episodes to listen to ready for you to play, add or archive.

You can drag, drop any episode in whatever order and when one episode finishes, the next one plays automatically. Queued episodes are downloaded automatically when on wifi to save cell data.

I’m pretty sure once you try it, you’ll wonder how you’d ever manage without it.

Apple Watch Auto -Sync.

For me this was one of the most important features in a podcast player. I typically run untethered from my phone and rely on my Apple Watch for podcasts. Up until now – Outcast was my tool of choice and still – is a seamless and excellent Apple Watch podcast player. The problem is – there is NO iPhone/iPad player. This means that I kept relying on a separate podcast player (Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Stitcher, Spotify etc.) for discovery and then would separately look it up on my watch, manually install, sync, organize a queue and run. This process not only took way too long, but any episode history or progress was limited to the watch. There was no way to start a podcast on my watch and pick up where I left off on my phone.

What makes this something to brag about is the “Auto Sync” feature (Castro Plus) where Castro will automatically sync and download my top 20 shows in my queue without me thinking about it. I can always force sync to my watch if I added a latest episode, but I can manage my entire listening queue on my phone and then whenever I’m ready to run – I can play offline from my watch. For those that haven’t tried to sync shows to their watch without the iPhone, you’ll likely not care about this, but for me – this was HUGE!

With Castro – I can seamlessly switch between Watch/iPhone without skipping a beat. Castro knows where I left off and I can continue listening on my phone or even computer. Which leads to my next thing I love about Castro…

History.

This is huge for anyone who wants or needs to reference an episode for a re-listen or to share. Before Castro – I would often find it hard to remember which podcasts I listened to or how to flag an episode for future reference or to share with my team. This was a nuisance. If I didn’t immediately write down the episode or bookmark the link – I’d spend an inordinate amount of time trying to retrace my steps and find it again.

With Castro – each episode I listen to – either on my watch or iPhone is automatically saved into my “History”.

Favorites

As much as I like automatically saving a history of all the shows I’ve listened to, what makes it even better is the fact that I can go to my history and “Favorite” a particular episode for future reference. This shows me a quick list of all those I’ve earmarked to save. I can even sort my favorites by show.

Advanced Sharing

Most podcast players have the option to share an episode. Castro makes this easy with one click. But where Castro really takes the cake is that it gives you the option to trim specific segments of audio to share. For instance – If you just want to share a specific segment or two from an episode, you can easily cut a snippet and share that via text, email, slack, whatever. Brilliant!

SIDE LOADS!!

Castro allows you to load most audio (Sorry No Audible yet 🙁 ) to your queue and listen as a podcast. I’ve found this super helpful especially with Youtube. Find a training or podcast on Youtube? Just tap the share button – then Sideload to Castro and within seconds, it’ll be available to listen in your queue. This is pure magic. (While I know Overcast has a similar feature – it doesn’t come close to the seamless process Castro provides. )

Wait – there’s more!

There really is a ton more features and most you can find on your own at Castro.fm – but here are some others that I’ve enjoyed:

  • Custom preferences for different podcast. This let’s you save preferences like playback speed, audio filters, skip intros for EACH podcast you subscribe to. I use this as there are certain shows I subscribe to that just take a bit too long to get started, with Castro – I can set this up once, and when that show starts playing- I’ve already skipped the fluff. Kind of like that auto-skip feature on your DVR…So cool.
  • Continuous Play from Queue. All other podcast players have this functionality somewhat – but always seems to have too big of delay – or doesn’t quite work. With Castro – I can load 15 podcasts and as soon as one ends – the next one immediately starts. Bonus reminder: If one of those podcasts has separate playback settings (skip pauses, playback speed) I don’t have to touch my phone to update anything. This is something I have definitely appreciated when I don’t want to interrupt a long run to get the next episode playing. Simple.
  • Trim Silence. A few players have this too, but this definitely is something standard players miss. A 30 min podcast can actually be closer to 25-26 min by removing some of the dead space between words.
  • Notifications. Receive a push notification when a show you subscribe to releases a new episode or is automatically added to your queue.
  • Boost production value by enhancing voices and mono mix.

To sum up – As a VP of Sales – you’ve got a ton on your plate – so give Castro a try to help you sharpen the saw and help get some time and motivation back.

Castro Is For Closers.

-G