Q: I download a weekly podcast that comes in 7 segments each about 40 minutes long. When playing them, my iPod nano stops after each track. Is there any way to configure all seven to play in sequence like the songs from a music CD so when part 1 ends, it automatically starts playing part 2 and so on?
A: Although you cannot make podcast entries play sequentially from within the normal podcast playback menu, you can do this simply by creating a playlist of the podcast episodes you would like to listen to, listed in the order that you would like to listen to them in.
You can do this with a standard playlist simply by creating a new playlist and dragging and dropping the Podcast episodes into it, or you can use a Smart Playlist to automatically select all unplayed episodes of a particular podcast, or perhaps even limited to only recent episodes:
Note that there are a couple of things to keep in mind about how recent versions of iTunes and the iPod firmware now handle podcasts, however: As of iTunes 7, new podcast episodes are automatically marked as “Skip when Shuffling” in their track properties. When Shuffle mode is enabled on recent model iPods, tracks marked as “Skip when Shuffling” will not play unless they are specifically selected from a track listing. This means that if you create a playlist of podcast episodes and leave the shuffle setting enabled, these will still only play one at a time and stop.
The solution to this problem is to either ensure that you always set Shuffle to Off on the iPod (under Settings, Shuffle) before listening to your podcast playlists, or change the tracks themselves in iTunes to disable the “Skip when Shuffling” setting. The latter approach is not as practical for podcasts, however, as each and every new episode will still carry this setting by default, and there is currently no way to change this for new episodes as they are downloaded.