My Podcast Process

Currently, I listen to a number of podcasts (to be listed at some later point) and getting them on to my iPod isn’t as straightforward as I’d like. I figured I’d mention the steps I use here on the chance that someone else finds them useful or has some suggestions for improving the process.

My steps are… 

1. Throughout the week, I use FeedDemon to fetch the podcast audio files from my subscribed feeds.

2. On the weekend, I copy all of those to the correct folders on our “media server” — essentially the photos/music box we use with the Tivo Home Media Option and with which I sync the iPod.

3. I run MP3Gain on all of the .MP3 format files so that their volume metadata is consistent with the rest of our audio.

4. I drag and drop all of the new files into iTunes. 

5. I use a “new files” Smart Playlist in iTunes to view only the files I just added. With them displayed, I clean up the tags: 

  • Set genre to Podcast and year to 2005.

  • Make Artist and Album consistent across each feed’s files, both new files and files previously downloaded from the feed.

  • Verify the Track Number tag so that the files are listed chronologically on the iPod.

6. I sort them based on the file type column and select those that are MP3 files. I then right-click those and choose “Convert to AAC”. This can take quite a while for lots of files (or longer programs).

7. When it’s done, I remove all the MP3/new-AAC files from iTunes’ Library. 

8. I then go the folder that has all those files and do two things:

  • Delete the MP3 files (don’t need ‘em any longer).

  • Change the .M4A extension on the newly-converted files to .M4B. This lets iTunes treat them as audiobook files — so that they’re bookmarkable and can be sped up. The iPod lets you set the playback speed to “Faster” so that files play about 25% faster, but without the higher pitch that would make the speaker sound like a chipmunk.

9. Delete older shows that I’ve already listened to, both from the iTunes library and from the drive.

10. Plug in the iPod and sync it all up.

So there you have it… all podcast files are bookmarkable, can be sped up for quicker listening, and are easily found by Genre and Artist on the iPod. Any suggestions?