Using a Clip for BBC Radio4 podcasts

Hi all,

My Mother-in-law has decided she wants a DAP. About the only only thing she’ll use it for is listening to podcasts from BBC radio 4 (intelligent speech radio, for those who don’t know). As it’s speech, rather than music, SQ isn’t of primary importance, and she’s got no use at all for fancy stuff like video, photos, bluetooth, wifi, gps or whatever else they’re putting in daps these days :wink:

The things that are important are:

  • Easy to navigate GUI. Largish text might be an advantage.
  • Good integration with easy-to-use podcast software (and radio 4 website)
  • Smallish, lightish. She said she liked the look of the nano, but she wasn’t aware that DAPs other than ipods existed…
  • I reckon 2-4 Gig of flash will be plenty.

Someone on suggested a sansa clip, which I’ve had a quick look at, and it seems like a nice player, and very suitable, but I haven’t found anything about using it for podcasts. So I’ve come here to ask does anyone use their clip like this? Does it do it well? What software do you use, or recommend?



The Clip is good for podcasts, however its screen is quite small, so many will need to use reading glasses to see it. It has an auto resume feature for files in the podcast and audiobook sections that lets you resume where you left off last time you played part of the file, or to start from the beginning. In the US one can get a 4gig Clip for just $50, while an 8 gig Nano is $150. If she only wants to listen to podcasts, she can get a one gig Clip at Walmart for just $27. The Clip typically gets around 12 hours of play time before it needs to be charged via pc(or optional AC charger).

The Sandisk Slotmusic player is just $20. It has no display though, and plays files that are on a micro SDHC card inserted into the player. The nice thing about the Slotmusic player is that it uses a AAA battery(a rechargeable AAA nimh battery can be used), so the player doesn’t connect to a pc to charge, and spare batteries can be carried. It gets 15 hours play time on one AAA battery. One would have to buy a micro SDHC card, and use a pc to load it with podcasts though. A one gig card might be $5 or less.

Can you feel the groovy?

I listen to several, the NewsPod summary, and BBC Radio Scotland.  The Sansa works absolutely fantastic with the BBC podcasts.

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:

Message Edited by neutron_bob on 01-18-2009 07:58 PM

@neutron_bob wrote:

Can you feel the groovy?


Message Edited by neutron_bob on 01-18-2009 07:58 PM

I listen to this one each week UK

The Clip does not come with podcast software.

BUT:  a great podcast software (free) is Juice,  It’s relatively easy to set up, and you can set it to retrieve podcasts on whatever schedule you want (as long as your computer is on then).  And them voila, if there are podcasts, they suddenly appear on your computer and all you need to do is drag and drop them (or copy and paste) onto your Clip.

IMO, the ideal podcast set up (and I haven’t experienced it) includes not only the program that fetches podcasts to your PC.  Somewhere in the software:

  1. queues them to get loaded on your player

2) Can automatically get you to the first one you haven’t heard (mid episode if applicable)

3) removes expired episodes from player (that you’ve listened to and maybe also so many episodes old)

Part of the utility of podcasts is all this management is normally automatic. 

Some responsibility lies with the publisher for a reasonable and uniform tagging system.  For example, randomly changing “artist” from something like “BBC World Buisness Report” to “World Business BBC” is a real screwup.  I don’t know that BBC does that, but a lot of podcasts do.

One podcast I subscribe to uses episode names like: “The Splendid Table for Saturday December 15.”  If your player has a limited display and scrolls through titles, you will quickly note that since the show is always on Saturday,  ALL episodes have identical titles for the first 32 characters, and in the same month will be the same for maybe 42 characters.  In the end is it only a very small percentage of the time the display shows the 1 or 2 characters that distinguish this week’s episode from last week’s.  

Further, the year is not listed, so titles repeat after a few years so the podcast software happily downloads all the episodes you don’t have and the old ones overwrite the new ones with the same title on the PC.

Edit: this rant has little to do with the Clip in particular, but there’s a lot more than the player to making it work well.

Message Edited by donp on 01-19-2009 09:27 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I think I will go with a clip. I had a play with juice, and also mediamonkey, which seemed a bit better, so I’ll try that. Oh yes, and I found that the BBC list all their podcasts in a machine-readable format (OPML) from this blog posting.