I need a Mac Podcatcher that JUST WORKS!!!!

What is the deal with the lack of reliable podcatchers for Mac OS X that support OPML?

I used Juice, but it flaked out as a podcatcher. So did Net News Wire (that’s a great feed reader, but not a great podcatcher). Some of my readers suggested NewsFire — which might be good, but in the free version I can’t import my OPML file of subscriptions, and I’m not going to pay $19 for something I can’t really try.

For a couple of months I’d been using the free online service Odeo, with great success — until a couple of days ago, when Odeo stopped updating my feeds without explanation. I’ve e-mailed Odeo about this problem, but have gotten no response. It’s just gone dead. (Update 1:33 pm MT: I just got an e-mail reply from Crystal at Odeo who says “Updates have been running a bit slow, but we’re updating all of the feeds and should be back on track soon.” Indeed, one of my subscriptions has just updated. But not all.)

Here’s what I want, and why I refuse to use iTunes as my podcatcher…


A podcatcher application that runs on Mac OS X, or a reliable online service that will allow me to store subscriptions and automatically download files.

It must:

  • Support OPML import and export. I have about 40 podcast subscriptions, I’m not going to redo them all by hand, and I won’t use any tool that traps my subscriptions by not allowing me to export them as OPML.

  • Be reliable. Specifically, it must keep updating my feeds regularly.

  • Not be flaky. It should never download an episode more than once (Net News Wire’s fatal flaw), keep quitting on me daily (Juice’s flaw), or do anything else that would really annoy me.

  • Support any podcast feed: Not just feeds that are specifically iTunes-ready.

  • Allow me to try OPML import/export for free. Since this is a make-or-break feature for me, the product either needs to be free or I need to be able to try this out in the demo version.

And before people recommend iTunes, here’s why I won’t use iTunes:

  • It doesn’t support OPML import/export. I’m sorry, Apple — I love my MacBook, but nobody — even you — gets to trap my subscription list.

  • It only supports “iTunes ready” feeds. I’ve found lots of podcasts — especially new niche shows by brand-new podcasters from odd corners of the world — that haven’t figured out how to jump through this hoop of Apple’s. I shouldn’t have to wait for them to get technically on board with Apple to subscribe. I don’t know what the point of this “iTunes ready” stuff is, but it just gets in my way.

OK. So, any recommendations? Please comment below.

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