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Listening to a Podcast with your Blackberry

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We’ve been recently approached by a company who is considering working with PodWorx. As we spoke about what it is they are trying to do, they said they wanted to be able to directly send their Intracast (internal podcast) to their sales people who all have Blackberry’s. When they asked if that was possible, I thought it would be pretty easy. Turns out, I was wrong.

After a ton of research, I found that BlackBerry’s are not able to listen to RSS-based podcasts easily. There is, however, a way to make it happen. This information came from Ronen Halevy, from, who outlined four ways of listening to a podcast on a BlackBerry. As Ronen is right to point out, options 2-4 are pretty unappealing…so I’m just presenting his first (and best) suggestion.

  1. Download Juice Receiver (it’s free). This is “podcatching” software that you will use to subscribe to your favorite podcasts using their RSS feed. It will then read the podcast RSS feed and download the MP3 files automatically to your computer.
  2. Transfer MP3s to your BlackBerry using Roxio Media Manager. Launch Roxio’s Media Manager, find the location of the recently-downloaded MP3 files and simply drag a copy of them to your BlackBerry. (I created a directory called Podcasts on the BlackBerry so they’d be easy to find.)
  3. Launch the BlackBerry Media Player and Listen. On your BlackBerry, simply start the Media Player, select Audio, find the Podcast MP3 episode you want to hear and listen away.

That’s it. Because podcast MP3 files can be pretty large (ours are typically 900k per minute), you’ll likely want to add an additional SD card to your BlackBerry for media storage.

How a Podcast SHOULD be listened to via a BlackBerry.

While what I’ve outlined works, it’s not very elegant. If a company expects their BlackBerry owners to go through this exercise each time a new episode is available, I think they’ll be disappointed with the results. Ideally, we should have some BlackBerry-installed software that allows us to subscribe to the RSS feed and download the episodes wirelessly. It should then either provide a media player internally or provide a seamless link to the BlackBerry media player.

The question is, does such software exist?

The answer, from what I can tell, is not yet. Hopefully, some company will come around and make it happen. I expect the revenue potential for such an application would be sizeable. The good news is there may be something on the horizon. I’ll provide more details when I’m able.

Posted on Saturday, January 19, 2008 · 20 Comments


20 Responses to “Listening to a Podcast with your Blackberry”
  1. BerryReview says:

    PSSST… Just hold on for a bit. I am sure it is coming soon.

  2. Del R says:

    Blackberries DO have the ability to EASILY listen to podcasts.
    It is quite simple actually.

    Consider this:

    Open your BlackBerry browser and go to
    Search for “marketplace podcast”
    Click on the first link that shows up
    Scroll down and click on the link below “To subscribe using another…”
    While the RSS feed is loading – bookmark it
    Then simply click the BlackBerry button on the most recent post and click “Get Audio”
    After the file is downloaded the player will start automatically

  3. scott whitney says:

    Hey, this looks to be pretty clever Del. However…I received an Error 403 Forbidden “You are not authorized” message when actually trying to download the audio.

    When I checked the “Details” section, it said the “The request or reply is too large” and that this limit was set by the Internet Service Provider “who operates this cache”. Well, I tested it on my own podcast of which there is no limiting that I’m aware of and it still had the same problem.

    Any suggestions?

    UPDATE: It appears to have to do with the size of the audio file. I tested Del’s suggestion on our GearUp podcast, which are usually about 5 minutes and it worked. HOWEVER, it takes A VERY LONG TIME to download a 4.7MB audio file. . .which leads me back to the idea of being able to stream the show as well.

  4. pratfall says:

    I’m looking to do the same thing – there’s an app called AudioBay out there that’s supposed to handle podcasts, but its $15, there’s no demo and the reviews are pretty resoundingly negative. I tried doing as Del suggested, but I’m looking at 5-45MB mp3 files, and since I’m going through a BES, I get HTTP 413’s errors because the BES only allows a max of 1024K in a response. I expect pulling down a 45MB file over EDGE wouldn’t be worth the wait, either, unless I had a player that would start playing before the file was completely downloaded.

  5. Ben B says:

    Del’s method does work for his needs and mine. The NPR Marketplace Morning Report files are about 3.4MB so they can be dowloaded to your Blackberry. I tried it and was able to download the podcast in about 2 min in Verizon’s EVDO coverage area. When I tried to download the full Marketplace Report (about 25MB) I received the same error that Scott did. I find it very useful to download short podcasts to my BB. Anything longer than that, I can listen to online or on my ipod. Thanks Del!

  6. We’re currently testing a new version of AudioBay that can download large files in parts for user’s who are running into the BES/BIS download size limitations.

    For current users, you can try the test version by selecting ‘Website’ from the main menu and following the ‘Install test version 3.3’ link.

  7. Scott Whitney says:

    What about for non-current users, Mr. Thibault? Anything available for us to test?

  8. carson says:

    We are thinking of creating a podcast streaming/downloading app which would integrate with the Mediafly podcast service and deliver your subscriptions directly on your bberry.

    But before we do this, I wanted to get some feedback on the functionality of the bberry userbase. Does anyone know which carriers or other factors would make a download app successful?

    We have a test app which does a simple httml fetch of a few files to give us some profile information. You need an SD card. If you are willing to help us test this, we’ll give you the app for free once it is done.

    you can get it at from your bberry browser. Let it run for about an hour and email the results via


  9. Scott Whitney says:

    Hey Carson, I might suggest providing some form of documentation before asking somebody to blindly install an application.

    Just a thought. . .

  10. brent jackson says:

    Would definitely pay something for a direct podcast downloader. RSS sounds like the right mechanism.

    Using a fairly cludgey mechanism with RSS readers / iTunes and file copying. Aslo tried Media Manager and BB MediaSync but was somewhat disappointed and found that simple copying worked just as well.

    Incidentally, I have a BB model that support WiFi so an option that would be great for me would be to sense when my BB is plugged in at night and use the house wireless network rather than killing my data plan.

  11. kevin sweeney says:

    That’s how Zunes do it, and it works wonderfully.

  12. Des says:

    wifi download is definitely the way to go, I have 8gb of podcasts on my blackberry, at present I’m using itunes and media sync to keep it updated, but its a pain to have to delete all the files that I’ve listened to manually. If I could have a reliable all in one podcast application on the bb 8320 I’d certainly ditch itunes.

  13. Lianne Li says:

    In fact, I’ve been researching on getting podcast on my new BB for days. Just spotted Podtrapper, which can directly download to the devise. I’m still testing it, so far it has been downloading in an acceptable speed…

    Here’s a review:

  14. Scott Shultis says:

    Podtrapper seems to be the best podcast software for the blackberry, by far. It’s got a wide range of features, allows you to manage and and via what connection you download, keeps track of what you’ve listened to, and even holds your place on multiple podcasts, so you can come back to any that you’ve started later, and pick up where you left off.

    It has an override for the default audio output, so you can listen on your bluetooth headset, phone speaker, speakerphone, or wired headphones. and it supports video podcasts, (if you’re blackberry can play them).

    There are updates and new versions out on a fairly regular basis, and the author keeps a forum for support and actually answers questions.

    For $9.99 (soon to be $13.99) if you enjoy podcasts on the go, it’s worth every penny.

  15. Scott Whitney says:

    Thanks, Scott S. This looks promising! Are you associated w/ Podtrapper?

  16. mh says:

    Don’t expect RIM to help create a podcast app anytime soon. As you know, RIM is in bed with the wireless carriers and are not looking to piss them off by having people suck the wireless bandwidth. They aren’t even doing enough to help developers create good apps.

  17. Chris says:

    Just FYI Podcasts is a good on-device podcast downloader and player for BlackBerry

  18. paulnaybour says:

    Does anyone know of a site or application that matched the functionality of iTunes on the iPhone but for the BB. We offer business podcasts and it would be a good way of getting the message out.

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Live Streaming Video – Business Podcast – Web TV Consultant – Las Vegas, Nevada