The code is here: https://github.com/jthaman/econtalk-downloader
My wife will tell you that I’m a bit of an EconTalk fan. I’m pretty big on bothering her with some weird economic facts or conjectures that I learn from the show.
I usually listen to the show on Spotify on my way home from work. But lately, I find Spotify(’s UI) to be pretty outrageous:
- it is slow,
- it’s hard to search for the right episode,
- you can’t see all the episodes on one page, and
- sometimes playing an episode flat out fails even when I have a good connection (!!!).
I’d much rather have all the episodes on my hard disk so that I can use whatever music app best suits me on my devices.
It’s also hard to listen to the episodes on my computer: the website makes it hard to listen to the old episodes.
My solution is to write a small utility program to download all the episodes.
This is great for me because I get to practice programming (in Common Lisp!) and I get to put all the EconTalk episodes in one folder so that I can spin up iTunes (or whatever) and just hit shuffle.
Why can’t I do this on Spotify or iOS Podcasts??
The script itself is very simple. I just download the RSS feed for EconTalk, then find all the links to mp3s. Then I download them. This is only possible because podcast episodes are distributed using a free and open protocol, RSS or Atom feeds. In this case, the feed is just clear XML that can be parsed.
Later, I would like to turn this script into a binary, or something more portable, but I’m still learning about that. For now, I’m content with opening the script in Sly and running it, just like you would any R script.