BVLog Bryan Voss’ mental synchronization point

1Sep/100

Manually adding podcast episodes to iTunes

I listen to podcasts regularly. It's a nice use of commute time. iTunes downloads episodes automatically and they transfer to my iPod Touch when I sync it. The process is mostly effortless.

iTunes also has a nice feature that will suspend downloading new episodes of a podcast if I haven't listened to the episodes I currently have on my iPod. This helps to avoid consuming too much disk space and filling up my iPod with something I don't want. If I then decide to start listening to that podcast again, iTunes detects it on the next sync and starts downloading new episodes again.

I recently stopped listening to a daily podcast for about a month while I was listening to a bunch of old episodes from a new podcast I found. After catching up on the new podcast, I wanted to get back into the old one. I found that iTunes had stopped downloading episodes a few weeks ago and the missing episodes were no longer available in the podcast feed. Since the episodes were part of a series, I didn't want to miss them.

By deciphering the filenames on the episodes I had, I was able to find and download the missing episodes manually. I then dropped them in the "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder to make them available. Within a few seconds, they showed up in iTunes, but in the Music section rather than Podcasts. I tried manually changing the media type to Podcast, but they then showed up as a separate podcast rather than merging with the existing episodes. After a fair amount of googling, I found several suggestions, but nothing seemed to solve all aspects of the problem.

I did a little tinkering and was able to come up with a reasonable solution. I'm running iTunes under Windows, so YMMV if you're on a Mac.

  1. If you don't already have it, download and install Mp3tag.
  2. In iTunes, right-click one of the problem podcast episodes and choose "Show in Windows Explorer".
  3. Still in iTunes, delete the problem episode, but choose the option to keep the file.
  4. In Explorer, move the mp3 file to the correct directory under iTunes Media\Podcasts if it's not already there.
  5. Open Mp3tag and drag both the problem episode and another working episode from Explorer to Mp3tag.
  6. Right-click the working episode and choose Extended Tags...
  7. Note the values of the following fields:
    GENRE
    ITUNESPODCAST
    ITUNESPODCASTDESC
    ITUNESPODCASTID
    ITUNESPODCASTURL
    RELEASETIME
  8. Edit extended tags on the problem episode and set the values to match the working episode, changing ITUNESPODCASTDESC (episode description), ITUNESPODCASTID (episode filename/URL), and RELEASETIME appropriately. Note that ITUNESPODCASTURL is the URL for the podcast feed, not a particular episode.
  9. Save the tags in Mp3tag.
  10. In Explorer, drag the mp3 file and drop it on the iTunes window to add it. It should show up under the correct podcast.
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