So you’ve made an mp3 file, and you want to turn it into a podcast. Here’s how.
A podcast is simply a small file called an ‘RSS feed’ that points to the audio (mp3) file that you want to podcast.
You can then go one step further and submit it to itunes to make it an official Apple podcast. The RSS feed file can be registered with any podcast site, but this post describes how to do it with the Apple iTunes site..
How it works
When someone clicks on the podcast icon in itunes, it takes them to the Apple itunes podcast site. The Apple site then points their iTunes to the RSS file, which then points to the mp3 file that contains the audio. It sounds complicated, but it’s really just a series of little signposts that eventually point to the mp3 file.
So as you can see, we need to do this in reverse order to make a podcast. Firstly put the mp3 file up, then create an RSS feed that points to the mp3 file, and then register this RSS feed with Apple.
So really the audio file alone is not the podcast, the rss file is not the podcast, the itunes store is not the podcast. The podcast is really the whole set of signposts that allows your ipod to find the mp3 file automatically.
The advantage of a podcast is that all the audio files are easy to find because even though they are scattered over the web, their descriptions are centralised into the iTunes store. Also the process of downloading them once you are subscribed is automatic.
Let’s look at how to do it step by step.
- Put up the mp3 file
- Make an RSS file that points to the mp3 file
- Put the RSS file somewhere on the web
- Register the podcast with itunes
- Subscribe to the podcast
- Link to the podcast
The first set is to make an mp3 file (eg via ‘itunes’) and then place it on the internet somewhere using an ftp program (‘cyberduck’ is a good ftp program). You will need an account on a webserver to do this. This is dealt with elsewhere on ‘How to put a file on the internet’). The file will be called something like ‘talk1.mp3’ and it will be at a location somethign like ‘http://mywebsite.com.au/talks/talk1.mp3’. For our example we used the real file called ‘20060212.mp3’ which we put on the web at at http://sermons.dpc.org.au/1john/20060212.mp3
Now we need to make an RSS file that will point the the mp3 file to tell the podcast directory (in this case, the apple itunes podcast directory) where to find the mp3 file. There are hundreds of programs to make an RSS feed (eg ‘feedforall’) , but it’s hard finding a free one! Vodcaster looks good but it’s only for tiger. One good free one is at http://www.phelios.net/rss-writer.html it’s easy to use. The program will ask for information like the name of the mp3 file, artist, title of webcast etc, and it will put all this information into a file called an RSS file, which it will save to your hard drive. The program will give the file an extension of .xml So we called ours dpc and it was saved as ‘dpc.xml’
It doesn’t matter where. We uploaded ours to http://sermons.dpc.org.au/dpc.xml
The last step is to let itunes know where the rss file is kept. Open up itunes, and click on the ‘podcasts’ icon. Down the bottom click on ‘podcasts directory’. This will take you to apple’s podcast page on the itunes music store. There is a link called ‘Submit a Podcast’ which you can click on. It will ask you for the podcast feed url. This is the address of the rss fiel you just created. (Eg http://sermons.dpc.org.au/dpc.xml) Paste the address and click continue. Unfortunately you need to then enter your apple ID, you’ll need to register with apple to get one, it doesn’t cost anything, it’s not a .mac membership, just an apple id. Apple will send an email telling you when the podcast has been approved. It may take an hour or two.
You should now be able to find your podcast on the ituens webpage. Go to itunes, podcasts, podcasts directory. There is a box to search for a podcast. Type in part of the name of your podcast (eg I might type in ‘Dubbo’) and click ‘search all podcasts’. It will display all the matches, in our case, 1 match – ‘DPC BibleTalks’. Click on subscribe to subscribe ot the podcast. You are now subscribed to the podcast!
Now the final step is to link to your new podcast from a webpage. Open itunes podcasts and next to your subscibed podcast title is a little right arrow. Click on this and it wil take you to the itunes homepage for your podcast.
If you right click on the podcast entry down the bottom, there is an option called ‘Copy itunes Music Store URL’. Click this and then it will copy the URL to the clipboard. You can then paste this into your homepage or email it to your friends. Ours was http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=121967957&s=143460&i=2214949
If you click on this it will open itunes and take you to our newly created podcast!