Developer: Stitcher, Inc.
Price: Free
Version: 4.3.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Podcasts are a very interesting permutation of the entertainment medium.  Instead of creating one show to cater to the lowest common denominator, much like a standard television news program, these numerous nuggets of downloadable knowledge are very specific and focused towards a select niche audience.  But with so many thousands of podcasts out there, each aimed scattershot across the internet, how can a person find content that speaks to them?  Stitcher Radio is attempting to answer this question through their innovative new multimedia client.

Targeted at the ubber podcast consumer, this is the app for anyone that craves having new sounds and ideas invading their eardrums at all times.  Remember that dusty old AM radio that your grandfather had in the corner of his office, quietly murmuring in the background all day long?  This software appeals to the same type of audience, only updated for the internet age and christened with more variety than a trip to Baskin Robbins.

All users need to do is subscribe to podcasts that they have enjoyed in the past, and Stitcher will do the rest.  New episodes of your favorite shows are queued up as they become available and delivered to your brain in a never-ending flow of audio awesomeness.  There are even suggested playlists for indecisive folks who don’t necessarily know what they want to listen to, which helps encourage listeners to try new podcasts that they wouldn’t have otherwise even knew existed.

Podcasts not necessarily your cup of tea?  Maybe you might be interested in checking out the endless streams of local radio stations instead.  You can search by region, city, or even GPS coordinates to find and engage in programs originating in your own neck of the woods.  Really, saying that there is something for everyone is an understatement, because it really has everything for everyone!

However, this doesn’t mean that things are all rainbows and unicorns in the mythical land of Stitcher.  In fact, there is one particularly glaring issue that could be a deal breaker for some: it is not a threaded application.  This means that you cannot turn off your screen, let your device go into the automated idle stand by, or even leave the application itself without the audio stream coming to a screeching halt.  The inability to put the device into standby or idle while maintaining audio playback, a feature which has been present in apps like iTunes, Last.FM, and Pandora since the introduction of iOS 4.0, transforms it into a battery black hole.

Let’s hope this issue can be remedied in future updates, because otherwise this would be an instant recommendation.  That said, if you have a extended live battery or iPhone adapter that you carry at all times, Stitcher may be the cure for the common podcast.  It is well worth a look… err, listen…. err, download.



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