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I have one specific podcast (Reasonable Doubts Podcast) that used to work correctly in iOS5, but since the upgrade to iOS6 with the standalone Podcast app, all the episodes are missing their dates, and sort in alphabetical order (fairly useless).

I've unsubscribed, deleted, and re-subscribed, and the problem still occurs. Is this a bug? User error? Something the Doubtcast folks need to fix with the feed on their end?

Can someone confirm whether the same problem happens for this specific podcast on your device? (Mine is a 32GB iPhone 5).

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Don't have an answer but I do have the same problem with the reasonable doubts podcast and the radio dispatch on btr is doing the same thing and I think there's a couple others in my list. It will not auto download anything in those because it can't recognize what is a recent podcast. I have to manually select them in the iTunes Store for downloading and SOMETIMES they show up in the podcast list in the app. Hope they fix this soon because its not very professional to leave this problem there... –  user56593 Sep 6 '13 at 22:32
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Same here (iPhone 4S, iOS 6.0.1), dates are missing:

Reasonable Doubts podcast in iOS 6

although other podcasts are shown with release date:

Ars podcast

On the other hand, and quite surprinsingly, the podcast is shown correctly in iTunes:

Reasonable Doubts podcast in iTunes

According to https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3120228 the missing release date could be caused by an incorrect pubDate element.

However, Reasonable Doubts' RSS feed correctly formats the pubDate element as described in the RSS specification and RFC 822. But what about the rest of the XML file? A syntax error could prevent an RSS reader from successfully parsing the RSS feed and extracting the date information.

Luckily, the W3C provides at http://validator.w3.org/appc/ a feed validation service, which checks compliance with the RSS specification. And W3C is clear, Reasonable Doubts doesn't validate:

http://validator.w3.org/appc/

Apparently iOS 5 and iTunes are more tolerant than iOS 6 with some "broken" RSS feeds like the Reasonable Doubts podcast.

(As a side note: I found a podcast which looked perfectly right in iOS 6 although not having the day of the week in pubDate, so that wasn't the culprit, as I first (wrongly) suspected. I also found other podcasts with a missing release date (like here and here). The reason for it in these cases is indeed a non compliant pubDate element.)

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Super awesome, thanks for the verification and technical detail. Those responsible will be sacked :) –  BradC Nov 29 '12 at 16:54
    
@BradC: I added the podcasts to iTunes and to my surprise all release dates were shown! So I investigated further and as it turns out I was wrong. The day of the week is optional (that's why it is shown surrounded by square brackets in RFC822). So the iPhone is the culprit, not the Doubtcast team, I hope you haven't contacted them yet :-) I will edit my answer accordingly, sorry for the confusion. –  jaume Nov 29 '12 at 17:56
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This issue is more complex than I thought at first, luckily I got help from W3C's feed validation server, which checks how compliant a feed is with the RSS specification. And Reasonable Doubts didn't look good... Edited my answer to reflect the new information. –  jaume Nov 30 '12 at 12:09
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