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Dear Berry: Where are my podcasts?

Dear Berry
By Dear Berry on 17 Feb 2012 12:11 pm EST
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So, after a long hiatus, I'm back!! I've been away for wayyyy too long, but after the announcement last week I have had a lot of emails come my way and one that was quite popular is frustrations over the BlackBerry Podcast app. 

One reader writes:

I know this may be a question for the forums, and I apologize for the length of this email but I feel like I need a place to vent while finding help in the process so please hear me out. My BlackBerry Podcast app has been used daily and worked flawlessly up until about 2 weeks ago. Now every download fails. EVERY DOWNLOAD FAILS! FRUSTRATING! In trying to find support, I sent an email to the address listed in app world which has done nothing, I've searched every forum I could find which seems to lead only to dead ends and empty threads, and I've tried using Twitter and talking to BlackBerryHelp, which only asked what my error message was and then the help went cold. The only method I have not used yet is the support phone number from RIM because I don't want to be charged a $50 incident fee. It got me thinking: why is it so difficult to get a hold of RIM for support for their own apps? Is there a method out there that I'm not aware of for support for programs created by RIM itself that won't require me to give a credit card number up front? Third party developers have been fantastic at help when I have questions or problems but it's near impossible to get a tenth of the help for a smartphone issue that is RIM specific and not carrier related. It's a shame, because when I had an issue with my PlayBook support couldn't have been better.

Thanks for the help and for letting me vent, hopefully this leads to some help for anyone in a similar situation.
- John 

While another reader said:

Why does my Blackberry podcast app stop working for about a week, then start back up, then go down again?..... Sometimes it all the podcasts I subscribe to and sometimes it is just a few..... Please any tips to help me fix this 
- Anonymous 

Dear John and Anonymous,  

I use the BlackBerry Podcast app and while I haven't encountered any problems, yet, it seems that a lot of people have been having problems, the main one being that subscriptions have stopped downloading. After doing a little digging, it is apparent that RIM seems to act as an intermediary between the app and the RSS feeds of the podcasts. This complicates matters somewhat and hence the reason there may be delays in new episodes being available or not downloading at all. On top of that while it comes preinstalled on BlackBerry OS 6 and 7, it is only supported in the US and Canada, so outside of those countries if anything goes wrong there is not a lot that can be done.

A work around that seems to work for some people is to manually enter the RSS feed URL when adding podcast subscriptions instead of using the search facility within the app. However, this does not work for everybody and until the app is available in your country, official support is not there.

I can offer an alternative but at a cost. Podtrapper, from Versatile Monkey is a podcast app that a lot of users have sworn by, including myself (before the BlackBerry Podcast came along), it did the job well and i never encountered a problem with it. Podtrapper, however, does cost $9.99 but it does come with a 30-day free trial, it is worth giving it a go for the 30-days if you really want to be able to get your podcasts on your BlackBerry.

More information / Download Podtrapper via App World

- Berry 

If you'd like to submit any of your BlackBerry woes email us at dearberry@crackberry.com or you can follow us on Twitter @DearBerryCB.

See you next week!

26 comments

a41.8tqm

im having the same issue with my podcasts. every dl fails and manually entering RSS feed doesnt work (wont even subscribe to it)

ichat

Why an alternative? Give us a fix!

Edit.

Sorry didn't read the entire post. silly me.

pkcable

I also endorse Podtrapper, it is WELL worth the money!!!!!

Litt3

I'll get Podtrapper. But it would sure be nice if RIM fixed this.
seems like a legacy product they should have got right by now.

podcasts are a nice easy value added service rim can use to keep us hooked.

Rim, assign one programmer to get this fixed please.

bizzyqu

At launch i used podcasts on playbook all the time but with an update one day it just stopped working and i haven't used it since

BrizzadMan

I'm in the same boat. At least one of my podcasts has started downloading again. Most still fail.

Tried uninstalling/re-installing the podcast app, deleting all previous podcasts, updating subscriptions.... notta.

I like PodTrapper to a point, though dislike the interface for a touch device - so would not rather go that direction.

ianbordas

Also having issues with Podcasts, I was working great but suddenly i also get these download failures and some podcasts that were already downloaded suddenly dissapear (deleted) - when my settings are set to keep.

It's impossible to find podcasts unless you are a PC guru able to find the exact LINK and MAYBE that way it recognizes it... it's just getting frustrating. I sold my iPod cause my 9900 was doing EVERYTHING i needed!!! RIM get this fixed ASAP!

Ian
Bold 9900 & PlayBook 64GB Wifi

rgorman

It was nearly flawless while running in Beta after a few fixes. Then it was released to the public and it went all wonky. The version that came with my 9810 never worked right, even after a few re-installs, etc.. Even now- after I have UNINSTALLED it, it doesn't fully go away (icon link remains) and downloads random podcasts that were on my subscribed list. I went with Podtrapper and that has been working fine.

guswithtorch

Sure this is not the place, but...

I feel absolutely stupid. Really. Why?

Living in Spain, Blackberry Podcasts is unuseful in my Torch. Why does it come installed if we can't use it? Yet I was so stupid to ask when it was going to be working. I was told (really, I was, by RIM!!!!) it would work sometime soon. As you may guess, that was loooooooong ago and I am still waiting.

Well, while waiting, I bought a Playbook. Where is the Podcast App? Nowhere to be found. As they gave me 90 days of free support, I asked again... And again I was told it would work soon... That was June 2011

2.0 beta? No podcasts... Will it be available for Spaniars with OS 2.0 I guess it will not.

Yes, I feel stupid. Cos I trusted them and bought their products. Don't misunderstand me. I like my torch and playbook. But it makes so little sense to me I am not able to use that app. I really like podcasts. I download a lot of them on my computer and then copy them to my devices. Soooooooooooooooo stupid...

Please, please, please, don't do this to us. We want to be happy custormers, nothing more...

Sorry for this, but I am so tired of waiting...

magnetman-

I was having the same problem. When I check my phones apps using the desktop, I found upgrades for core modules. Once I updated, I nolonger had any problems with podcasts.

Rob Robertson

Podtrapper is great. I was having this problem a few weeks ago with BB Podcasts.

I gave up and pick up Podtrapper, haven't looked back since.

Astyanax

I picked up Podtrapper before Blackeberry Padcasts was released and I'm glad I did. When BB podcasts showed up I tried it, but it isn't intuitive at all. Nothing seems to work how I expect it to. Maybe I was spoiled by Podtrapper having everything make perfct sense from the second you start the app, but that's why I'm still using it and not the native, free BB Podcasts that came on my new phone. Podtrapper was well worth ten bucks

Bulldawg

I use both Podtrapper and BlackBerry Podcasts. Primarily, Podtrapper is just an audio book player for me, but that's about to change if BlackBerry can't fix the Podcasts app.

For those looking for an alternative, Podtrapper is excellent. Well worth $10.

michjarv

Has any of your tried downloading your podcast on wifi and not through your mobile network? I too ran into the same issues that you guys are speaking about, I will get a notification that I have a new podcast, start download, podcast gets download successfully, click on podcast and bam error cannot play stream. I got to the point where I almost uninstalled the entire app, but being a geek/techie, I turned off my mobile network, turned on Wifi, switch the settings in podcast software to only download on wifi and since then I been able to download all of my podcasts. This may not work for everyone and may be dumb to do but I just go with the flow and now I don't get frustrated.....hope this helps someone.

Edit.....after re-reading some of comments, are we speaking about the podcast app on the Playbook or the phone? what I just mention above works for me on my phone and not on my PB....just wanted to clarify(op did not say if it was for a PB or device).

raytomlin

Called RIM/Blackberry tech support the other day to enquire as to why, given that I am a Canadian resident and purchased my Blackberry Playbook in Canada at Christmas, there was no Podcast app available on the Playbook?

"That's just the way it is," I was told dismissively by the person with whom I spoke. Now, the previous time I called Blackberry tech support, the person with whom I spoke was reasonable, and told me that a problem I was having with the Playbook "locking up" would be addressed in the forthcoming release of OS 2.0.

Let's hope that the release of OS 2.0 resolves a whole handful of problems with the Playbook!

Stompy

I was so happy with the Podcast app on my 9810 I actually gave up my iTouch because of it. My iTouch had no way to download podcasts directly, instead you had to download them in iTunes and sync the Pod to it. Stupid. Once I was up and running on my BB I never looked back. Until it suddenly quit working on my 9850 a couple of weeks ago. The new episodes from HALF of my subscriptions would no longer download, while episodes from the other half of my subscriptions would. WTF? I just switched to a 9930 and so far it's been working perfectly. I feel like I dodged a bullet here but I don't know how, considering it's the exact same app.
Wish I had something more useful to say, but at least I know now there's a good alternative out there if/when this happens to me again. As for my 2nd generation iPod Touch, since there are no more software updates for it I guess it's just going to collect dust.

LuayS

The podcast app is now downloading my podcasts no problem as of just a few days ago. I did have this 2 weeks of blackout though for certain podcasts.

vbuckjr

I endorse Podtrapper, from Versatile Monkey as well. I did the 30 day trial and was sold, I happened to start using it before RIM included the podcast app which is good because I probably would have been more hesitant to buy it. It has been great has so many features, I listen to about 4 - 6 podcasts a week so it has been well worth it. It has been great in I have it setup to download podcasts at night over WiFi while I sleep.

Works on my Torch 9850 OS 7 BB.

fernandez21

Speaking of podcasts, when will there be a new crack berry podcast? According to my reader, it's been 2 months!

Adam Zeis

We recorded on yesterday - should have it posted up in the next day or two

gptoyz

I'm not sure why this is shock to anyone, the culture at rim/blackberry seems to be general apathy when it comes to support/QA/UX

I was really excited at the release of blackberry podcast, but after a brief honeymoon period, I like many users began to experience problems. I tried the advice of peers on CB, turned to my google-fu, I sent emails to RIM support - but to no avail. Download failed with no custom error reference (btw, take note...NOW RIM, "uncaught exception" is not sufficient error notification). This was probably the final aggravation that prompted my migration to the android platform, the straw that broke the camel's back.

I realize as both a developer and a user, that I cannot expect RIM to be responsible for 3rd party programs (although they could implement QA review of 3rd party apps to mitigate user frustration), their own programs should be held to a higher standard and should be treated with expedience when problems arise.

While none of the platforms are perfect (android, or iOs), I refuse to have a half ass functional phone, which is what the blackberry platform has become, with little 3rd party support.

When you compare top level devices from each platform (Iphone 4s, Samsung Galaxy S2 and blackberry 9860), other than battery life, the blackberry is significantly behind in general performance, camera performance, os stability, os response, hardware, 3rd party software support, 3rd party accessories. Btw RIM stop touting battery life - with our options of mobile battery banks, usb cables, laptops, car chargers, etc - battery life is really a non issue.

My BBs:
8700>8310>9000>9700>9800>9860

bassicmama

I've been able to subscribe to my podcasts using the Social Feeds app on my Torch 9800. I too have had several issues with the BB Podcasts app....can't find the feeds on the page, doesn't update for a while, then updates only some of the feeds, etc. I like the fact that I can choose to open or save the content through Social Feeds as well.

jayinvt

I had this happen many times and couldn't find help. I switched the download location from mem card to device, and that seemed to work. About a week later my mem card fried. See if changing dload location helps.
BB Torch 9800

lencool

I just dont have the podcast app on my playbook !!

kmonarq7

I have a 9850, and the Podcasts app doesnt even have an "Add Podcast" feature. I went back to Podtrapper...and begged them to take me back...and then we made sweet love while listening to some random TV podcast together.

I mean, it BB Podcasts doesnt work anymore....and even a 4-hour support call with RIM didnt work.