Creating a Recommended podcast episodes” Airtable that updates with iOS Shortcuts

As I write this sentence, I have no idea how to do this. But by the end of the blog, hopefully I’ll have figured it out. If at the end of this I still have no idea how to do it, I’ll still post the blog but write Help!” on twitter, perhaps @ other people who might know better how to do this stuff.

Here’s what I want to have happen. When I listen to a podcast and like it, I want to say to my phone recommend podcast.” I want those two words to trigger automatic computer things that do the job of putting an entry in a spreadsheet.

I want to do this because I figure it’s the perfect way to learn more about the Airtable API, and put all the podcast episodes I like into one place.

So, here’s what I did.

I created the Airtable database and filled in the recommended shortcuts from this blog going back to fall last year.

I searched Routinehub for a few Airtable shortcuts that might show me how to put this together.

  • Add Airtable Record (Example)” didn’t really help.
  • Get Airtable Records” also didn’t really help.

I took a few minutes to figure out where the API documentation resides on It’s in Help”!

I watched Automators 24: Blog Post Editorial Calendar in AirTable with Shortcuts. Then, I downloaded the sample base and shortcut from the tutorial.

So based on that advice, I made a txt file with the API key. I grabbed the url and placed it in the shortcut. And I modified the fields to match my database.

Then, I pre-pended these shortcut items with my current Share Overcast” shortcut items.

I got a No URL Specified” error. So I watched the video again and fixed my error. I’d accidentally selected Get URL from file” as opposed to URL.

It didn’t give me an error the next time, but it also didn’t actually send anything to Airtable. So I deleted the txt KEY file and just pasted in the key and renamed some of the columns. This time it got a little farther, but I got a new error:

{“error”:{“type”:“INVALID_VALUE_FOR_COLUMN”,“message”:“Field Last Modified” cannot accept a value because the field is computed”}}

So I deleted the Last Modified” field and tried again. And this time it worked! I got this result:

{“id”:“recAvI1IWUE7ibpfk”,“createdTime”:“2019-08-19T18:06:03.000Z”,“fields”:{“Episode Title”:“Kotaku”,“Last Modified”:“2019-08-19T18:06:03.000Z”,“Episode URL:“https:\/\/\/+FKOa63VXI}}

The airtable database updated with the Overcast URL and the title that I wrote in (unfortunately Overcast will only give me a URL, nothing else).

Then I put the txt file for the API key back in, since that was never actually a problem. My columns just needed to be types in properly.

I added in Ask for Show Title” and Ask for description” text inputs so that they can be included along with the URL. Getting that automated will be extra credit on this project, but as it stands, I’ve made this work for now.

August 20, 2019