Mac: I quit a lot of conversational podcasts early. They get boring for a few minutes, I try hunting for the next good bit with 30-second skips, and I give up and delete the episode.
But I don’t quit Scriptnotes — because even though the hosts can go off on tangents or discuss insider topics that don’t matter to me, I can skip exactly to the beginning of the next topic. That’s because the producer adds chapter headings to the show description.
That’s why you, podcast creators, should add chapter headings to your podcast. And Forecast is the best free app to do it in.
While it’s still in free beta, Forecast already works great, as long as you prep your episode a bit in your editing software. Drop markers at the beginning of your chapters before you export, and Forecast will see them and ask you what to name each one. Name your chapters, save, and upload to your publishing platform. Tell your platform to grab the ID3 data from the mp3 file.
Forecast also encodes your podcast into an mp3 in up to 128 kbps (the typical high end of podcast bitrates, used even by such audiophile shows as Radiolab). You can attach episode art and chapter art. Forecast even warns you if it detects long silences, in case you accidentally left a gap where the ad was supposed to go.
This smattering of conscientious extra features is typical for developer Marco Arment, who previously created Instapaper and Overcast (an excellent iOS podcast player).
But if you don’t prep your audio file in the editing software, you’ll have to manually enter time codes. And Forecast is cruddy at this. When I tested it, the manual interface was glitchy: Some of the timecodes didn’t save unless I entered them in very specific ways, and some duration counts never displayed accurately. As Arment warns, Forecast is still in beta.
Forecast is a strong challenger to Podcast Chapters, a $30.99 app with middling reviews on the App Store that mention several major bugs. At the very least, if Forecast fails for you, you didn’t waste any money.
Forecast | Home page