Adding Chapters to Your Podcast using Forecast

A quick tutorial about how to enhance the experience for your listeners using the Forecast app by Marco Arment

Subscribe to Overtime in Apple Podcasts or Overcast to see chapters in action.

Marco Arment created and shared a Mac app called Forecast for adding chapters to podcast episodes, and it’s great.

Forecast is also an MP3 encoder: You add an uncompressed audio file and Forecast turns it into an MP3 (quickly, Marco says, by using all the available processor cores in your computer). It also has some other cool features that I’ll share with you in a minute.

🖥 👉 Watch my full screencast tutorial for Forecast here:

How Does It Work?

After downloading and opening Forecast, you’ll need an audio file to import into the app (I bounce out a .wav version of my episode, but MP3s work too). You can either click the Import Audio button in the top left and find your file in the Finder, or drag and drop your file into the Import Button area of the app.

As soon as you import that audio file, Forecast will start encoding it as an MP3. This is a great feature and a huge time saver, because you can add the other information while the file is being encoded.

Next, add your podcast title, episode title, and the summary of the episode.

Adding Chapters with Markers

Forecast makes it really easy to add podcast chapters with time-stamps. Simply drop a marker in your editing software for the start of each chapter, and when you export the file, those will be used by Forecast. So you can mark the intro, your sponsor, the main topics or ideas of the episode, and much more.

Forecast even gives you the option to export the audio for your sponsor read chapters (called “airchecks”) so your sponsors can hear how you talked about their product or service to your listeners.

If you’d like to try including chapters in your podcast, start by thinking of the different sections of your show (or questions if you’re doing an interview show) as chapters. Then while you’re recording or editing, drop markers at the time you’d like to use for the start of the chapter.

When you’re done editing your episode and you export your audio file and import it into Forecast, all your markers should show up as chapters with timestamps. You can then add custom images and URLs for each chapter if you’d like. You should end up with something that looks like this:

What your listeners will see in Overcast (Apple supports chapters too). This is episode 4o of Overtime.

Silence Warnings

Another feature of Forecast that I really like: It will give you a list of long silences that might be unintentional, which will help you spot mistakes (like leaving 30 minutes of silence at the end of an episode, which is something that I’ve done on a few occasions). This is a useful feature and shows that Marco is trying to solve real problems that podcasters face with this app.

Wrapping Up

I’ve started using Forecast to tag and add chapters to Dribbble’s Overtime podcast and the 3 Point Perspective podcast, and I’ve been really pleased with the results. It’s a nice way to provide the listeners with a table of contents for the episode along with links and pictures and it doesn’t require a lot of extra work.

Big thanks to Marco for creating and sharing a useful tool for podcasters.

You can download Forecast here.

If you’re looking for a great host for your show, check out Simplecast.