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Podcast app Castro to shut down, former staffer says

The Casto podcast app running on an Apple iPhone. (Courtesy image, Graphic by The Desk)
The Casto podcast app running on an Apple iPhone. (Courtesy image, Graphic by The Desk)

A popular podcast app for Apple iPhones will shut down in the coming months, a former employee who worked for the company behind its development affirmed this week

On Monday, Mohit Mamoria of Tiny Capital said he spoke with the current leadership running Castro, who confirmed to him that the app will close at some point in the near future.

The affirmation comes after a prolonged technical outage that left several core functions of Castro broken, including the ability to export playlists to other apps and services. The closure will cap a turbulent existence for Castro, which was beloved by users while simultaneously beset by various business challenges.

Castro has seen several key executives leave over the past few years, including co-founder Padraig O’Cinneide (departed in 2019) and general manager Jesse Herlitz (left in 2021). The app was acquired by Tiny Capital in November 2018.

Castro found favor with Apple phone users who wanted an alternative to the tech firm’s own Podcast app. The Castro app offered power features not found on Podcasts, and was marketed as a way to “manage lots of podcasts, and enjoy the best episodes of all your favorite shows.”

Subscribers of Castro’s premium service, called Castro Plus, also gained the ability to edit out silent parts of podcast episodes (thereby speeding up each episode by several seconds), enhanced dialogue features and a feature that let users sideload other audio files into the app. Castro Plus cost $30 per year; it isn’t clear how many customers took advantage of the plan.

The impending closure of Castro will no doubt leave podcast users scrambling for alternatives. One such alternative, PocketCasts, offers many of the same features as Castro, though its premium service costs a whopping $40 per year (it was once available for as little as $10). Another app, called OverCast, offers power features for free and the ability to remove overlay ads for $10 per year.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).