I've been playing with chopping up radio programmes into segments or chapters at work recently. To demonstrate our ideas I've been using the Apple chapter tool to create podcasts (AAC files) with embedded chapter points.
These chapter points allow you to skip between sections within a programme and associate text and images with each section. The ability to skip through longer programmes seems a natural fit for speech radio which can be several hours long and often naturally magazine-like.
But I have a couple of gripes...
- My iPod seems to have trouble dealing with programmes with many chapter points (e.g. 10s to 100s). It's slow skipping through the chapters and seems to hang temporarily when starting a chapter.
- You can just sync a chapterised AAC file onto an iPod from iTunes but it will only show the chapter marks and the images. It won't display the chapter titles. Only if you get the file onto the iPod via a podcast link do these appear - same file just different, and long-winded, way of getting content onto it.
However this is all iTunes/iPod-specific so a couple of colleagues have proposed a chapter format for ID3 tags to be embedded in MP3 files. This actually includes a more advanced set of chapter options (based on TV-Anytime segmentation) such as multiple tables of contents (e.g. the whole programme, world news only, highlights) and linkable chapters (e.g. http://example.com/aprogramme.mp3#chapter2). The spec for this has been submitted to the ID3 working group and a tool for generating MP3s with chapter tags is on sourceforge.