HOWTO: Use amaroK to Listen to Podcasts

Posted in Technology
Fri, Dec 9 - 11:45 pm EDT | 8 years ago by
Comments: 17
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amaroK Full Window
I recently did a show on podcatchers for GNU/Linux and played around a bit with Bashpodder, BpGUI, and iPodder but somehow I totally missed the fact that amaroK can be used as a podcatcher.

For the uninitiated, a podcatcher is a piece of software used to subscribe to podcast RSS feeds. Don’t confuse podcatching with podcasting (which is the act of making the show, not listening to it). On this week’s upcoming show (#27) I’ll be playing with amaroK in more detail, but for now I’m just going to cover off podcatching with it.

I’m doing amaroK a bit of an injustice by treating it as a podcatcher. It is arguably the most full-featured music player for any platform on the market. It does all of the things you would expect from a music manager (except I have yet to figure out how to rip a CD with it although I’m told it’s possible) such as managing playlists, organizing music and playing it. However, it does much more such as Wikipedia lookups of the current artist, song, or album; song lyric lookups and..yes..podcatching!

Onto the nitty-gritty.

Fire up amaroK and click on the Playlists tab along the left-side of the main window. Amongst all the wonderful things that show up in the left side windowpane is a heading labelled Podcasts.
amaroK Right-Click Menu
Right-click on the Podcast label and you will be presented with a little context menu containing, amongst other things, the option to Add Podcast (click the images on this page to make them larger).

Clicking the Add Podcast menu option opens up the Add Podcast window. There’s a text field in this window labelled Enter Podcast URL which is here you need to plunk in the RSS feed address of the podcast that you want to subscribe to. Note that amaroK is picky and the URI you enter must be complete including the http:// part.

Note: Most (all?) podcasts have a supporting blog. The address of the blog is not the address of the RSS feed that you want to subscribe to. To get the RSS feed address, visit the show’s blog and look for RSS subscribe buttons on the site. If the site offers Bloglines, or Podnova, or Roxio buttons don’t select those links. Those are special links specifically for those sites. You want a plain old RSS feed which is usually indicated by an orange RSS button or Feedburner button. If in doubt, look for a link that ends in either /rss or /feed. In most cases, feed links end in one of those words.

amaroK Add Podcast Window
Once you’ve got the right feed address, put it into the Enter Podcast URL text field in the Add Podcast window and click the OK button.

Assuming everything is entered correctly and the feed is responding, your new podcast will have a spinning icon next to it for a few seconds while amaroK analyzes the feed and shows you the newest episodes. Once that’s done, the spinning icon will be replaced with a + sign beside the name of the podcast you just subscribed to (for a picture view of what I’m talking about take a look at the first image in this post).

Clicking the + sign will expand the podcast and show you the available episodes. Note that at this time, amaroK is only showing you the episodes, it hasn’t downloaded them yet. This is a good thing because of the sheer filesize of most podcast files. There’s no sense downloading anything until you double-click an episode to indicate that you want it.

So do it. Double-click an episode and have a listen. amaroK is smart enough to buffer the podcast so you can start listening to it almost immediately.

Oh, and when you want to check if there are new podcast episodes, just right-click the Podcasts label and select Refresh All Podcasts. Or, to just check a single show, right-click on that show’s label and select Check for Updates.


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  • sebr

    Hi Jon!
    great article here! For 1.4, we have great improvements for podcasting with amaroK. You can see a short intro into the progress we have made on my blog:

    Hope you enjoy it, and we’d love to see you do another article on how to maximise podcast functionality!


  • kenward

    perfect site good information, very nice news and etc… tnx

  • Jon

    Thanks Kenward!

  • ludwig

    where does Amorok download the podcasts to?

  • Jon

    I honestly don’t know and I don’t have Amarok on this computer right now. I’ll try to remember to take a look.

    I’m going to guess that they’re somewhere in your home directory, though. Perhaps a

    find /home/username -name mp3

    will find them for you?

  • sebr

    find them in

  • Jon

    Weird, eh? Why wouldn’t it store them in the user’s home directory? On a multi-user system, do all the user’s files get lumped together?

    Edit: Ooops, missed the ’~’. They *are* in the user’s home dir

  • Ludwig

    thanks for the info, guys!!

  • jon norris

    You can choose (right click) the destination into My Podcasts if you’re new from Windows like me)

    I’m trying to find out what all the different icons next to a podcast mean!

  • Sven

    Which skin is that:




  • Kyle

    @Sven: The skin appears to be the skin used in Linspire (or Freespire). I’m not sure if it has been released.

  • Ethan Brown

    Is there a way to have Amarok automatically load the podcast on to your ipod, in the same way that iTunes does? Or does it have to be manually loaded each time.



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  • sandrar

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.