So I actually have a valid use case for this. I use FreshRSS on my home server as my main RSS aggregator, with a client on my desktop and phone. The really big advantage of using something like FreshRSS is that it has support for the Google Reader (gReader) API, which allows any compatible RSS client to synchronise article status. So if I read an article on my phone using an app like Readrops (Readrops | F-Droid - Free and Open Source Android App Repository), when I get home and open up my desktop RSS reader, that article will appear as already read.
This makes for a pretty nice RSS workflow. I can have everything from Youtube channels, to news articles, to github update feeds, all in one big content aggregator, and it’s synced between all my devices the same way we would all expect. As a result, I don’t have to bother with checking out Youtube or other sites for updates - they all just come straight to me through my reader, and I know once I read something it’s gone everywhere, and if I favourite it, it’s favourited everywhere, etc.
Podcasts are, at the end of the day, RSS feeds. They have a slightly different format to what we are used to, but RSS clients can read them and will handle them correctly, presenting each episode as an “article”, where the text is usually just a direct link to the audio file, followed by an episode description.
As a result, using FreshRSS for podcasts is technically already feasible, but it’s not a nice experience. Because the articles are literally linking to audio files, there’s usually no auto-download support (most readers only auto-download text and images since that’s what they are usually designed for, with embedded video or audio being “download on demand”), no streaming or rewind/fast forward support, and none of the other fancy podcast features, the audio file usually appears like any other file would - as a download. To listen to a podcast now (and maintain synchronisation of read/unread episodes) I basically have to open the article, click to download the file, wait for it to finish downloading, then open it in a program like VLC, and listen to it like a standard audio file. This is, for many reasons, an unpleasant experience, but it gets the job done and is a perfectly valid way to keep up to date with podcasts.
In order to get all of the fancy features of podcasts and podcast clients, while maintaining some sort of syncronisation between devices, I basically have to use something like gpodder, however this essentially requires maintaining 2 different synchronisation systems side by side - one for podcasts, one for everything else.
If you were to add support for the gReader or fever APIs, that would make this app compatible with a huge number of RSS aggregators, including FreshRSS. It should then be able to accept a subset of the feeds from a server, as if they were podcasts. That would hopefully allow some of the more advanced features like auto-downloading, streaming etc, in a way which allows us to maintain our existing reader setups and not have to reinvent the wheel using gpodder or some equivalent. It would also be nice to be able to add new podcast feeds to our RSS reader using the “discover podcasts” feature, (preferably in some category we specify). This would definitely help to keep podcasts “nice” and easy to use, while maintaining compatibility with our existing RSS synchronisation setups.
All that being said, I’m not sure if it would be better to approach this problem from the other side. I’m not sure how possible it would be, but I would be greatly interested in FreshRSS adding gPodder support. That is, it would be able to act as a gPodder instance. Then, we could easily use this app (and many others). I know someone has already gotten some basic form of podcasting working within FreshRSS, but I don’t really understand what they did (see: Add <enclosure> in FreshRSS output rss to be compatible with podcast software · Issue #1796 · FreshRSS/FreshRSS · GitHub). Approaching from this angle would also allow some interesting ideas - such as possibly transforming a YouTube RSS feed into a properly-formatted video podcast feed by manipulating the feed dynamically and re-serving it, which is something FreshRSS can do.
I am an amateur PHP developer, but I could be interested in adding whatever is needed to FreshRSS (probably as a plugin), to facilitate communication with podcast clients.
The utopian ideal here would be to manage all “content consumption”, including podcasts, in a self-hosted way, that offers synchronising between mobile and desktop, using the same systems we already use for articles, youtube videos, etc, especially since podcasts use the same basic technology under the hood, so having 2 unrelated systems for managing what are essentially the same thing is really asinine.