Once you have everything recorded, it’s time to get your podcast into a form that’s easy to share. A one-hour WAV file will take up about 600 MB; listeners won’t download such large files, so you’ll need to compress it into either MP3 or AAC format. As you already know, iTunes has the ability to turn your CDs into MP3s - now you’ll use the same feature to convert your podcast.
The first step is add your WAV file to your iTunes library. Drag it from your desktop to the library window, or drag it to a playlist. (One good way to work on files like this is to create a temporary “Temp” playlist, into which you drag files you don’t plan to keep.) Before converting your podcast, you should tag (identify details for) the file. You can enter a name, artist, album, and comments. Use these tags, because once listeners get a hold of your podcast, this is the only way they’ll have to identify it. Start by giving your podcast a name that is not too long; enter your name as artist (or your website’s URL), and, in the Comments field, add anything that you’d like listeners to be able to know. Also, use any of the other fields you want, such as Year, Genre, etc., to provide enough info about your podcast. If you have a logo or photo, you can add it as “album art” in the Artwork tab.
Then it’s time to choose your compression settings. Open the iTunes preferences (iTunes > Preferences on Mac OS X; Edit > Preferences on Windows), then click the Importing tab. The Import Using menu lets you select the format you convert your file to. You’ll want to choose either AAC or MP3. AAC will only play through iTunes and on iPods; while some other software may support AAC, few other portable music players do, so your best choice is MP3. (If you do choose AAC, you can select Podcast from the settings menu to use a preset podcast bit rate setting.) Select MP3 from the Import Using menu, then select Custom from the Setting menu. Choose a bit rate of 64 kbps; you could go lower or higher, but voice sounds good at that bit rate, and your files won’t be too large. From the Sample Rate menu, select 22.050 kHz; this is high enough for voice. From the Channels menu, select Mono, unless your podcast is mostly music; voice does not need stereo, and this keeps your files small. Click OK.
Now, find your raw podcast file in your library or playlist, select it, then select Advanced > Convert Selection to [format], where format is AAC or MP3. iTunes will compress your file using your settings, and the resulting file will appear in your library. If you’ve tagged your file before converting it, you’ll find it in the genre you set, or by its title. You can now right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) the file, select Show Song File, and a window will open showing the converted file.
Publishing your Podcast
If you’ve gotten to this stage, you might already know you have to set up a podcast “feed” URL on your website. (If not, this article tells you all about podcasts and RSS feeds. The basic idea is that you need to have a place where your podcast is stored for people to download it, and then create a web link that other people can use to find the file.) Once you have the feed URL, load iTunes, go to the iTunes Music Store, click the Podcasts link in the left-hand column, and look for the Publish a Podcast link on the left of the Podcasts page. Click that link, enter the URL for your podcast, then click Continue.
But at this point, there’s a snag. You’ll have to sign in to your iTunes Music Store account. While you can browse, subscribe to and download podcasts without an iTunes Music Store account, you cannot submit any unless you have an account in the store you want to add them to. So, for example, someone in Australia who wants to add a podcast to the US iTunes Music Store will not be able to do so unless they have a US credit card and billing address.
If you do have an iTunes Music Store account, the rest is simple: iTunes automatically picks up any comments and descriptions you’ve added to your RSS feed; you cannot edit them once the podcast is added to iTunes. To find out about the tags you can use, click the “Learn more about podcasting on iTunes” link when you are on the Publish podcasts to the Music Store page. This will take you to a page with a FAQ, and a downloadable PDF file containing full specifications.
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