Notify iTunes that podcast should be removed / blocked

There are multiple ways how to remove specific podcast episodes and/or your entire podcast series from both iTunes as well as other podcast directories.

iTunes block feature

iTunes provides a special tag <itunes:block> that can be used to notify iTunes that your podcast series or specific episode should not appear on the iTunes podcast directory. This feature is exclusive to iTunes. Episode level blocking is temporary whereas program level (episode series) block may require you to contact Apple to re-enable. At the program level (episode series), a block will remove the entire podcast from the directory.

Note: Most podcast directories ignore this tag and should not be relied upon as a way to hide episodes.

Remove specific episode(s) from iTunes and other directories

There are two ways to remove specific episodes from iTunes. The first recommend method removes the episode from iTunes as well as most other podcast directories. The second <itunes:block> method only removes the episode from iTunes.

Recommended method: To remove the episode from appearing in all podcast directories including iTunes, simply find the blog post / episode in question. Change the post status to “draft”, or delete the blog post.

<itunes:block> method: To remove the episode only in iTunes, use the iTunes “Block” feature when editing a podcast episode. Please see the instructions at the bottom of this page to enable the iTunes “block” feature in PowerPress.

Remove entire show / podcast series from iTunes

There are two ways to remove the entire show from iTunes. The recommended method works for both iTunes as well as most podcast subscription tools. The second <itunes:block> method only removes the podcast from iTunes and is temporarily.

Recommended method: To remove a podcast series from appearing in most podcast directories including iTunes, we recommend the following steps:

1. iTunes specifically, sign into the iTunes store, find your podcast in the podcast directory and click the “Report a concern” option. Select the “Remove a podcast” optoin from the reason menu.  Enter a reason, then submit.

2. Remove all episodes from your web site and modify your podcast title and description information indicating the show is no longer available. You may want to replace the show title completely with “Podcast no longer available” that way the listing on podcast directories no longer uses your podcast title. We recommend maintaining this empty feed for 2 weeks. You may also want to switch out your show’s artwork to something that does not include your logo and/or program title. Essentially you are blanking out your listing so it is no longer associated to your podcast.

You can optionally combine this step with using the <itunes:block> method, but it should not be necessary.

3. Setup the podcast feed URL to report a 404 (page not found) response. We recommend doing this 2 weeks after you blanked out your podcast feed, this gives podcast directories including iTunes an opportunity to switch the listing information to the blanked out information.

<itunes:block> method: To remove the podcast series temporarily from iTunes, use the iTunes “Block” feature. Please see the instructions at the bottom of this page to enable the iTunes “block” feature in PowerPress.

Note 1: After 2 weeks we recommend replacing the feed with a 404 (page not found) response. simply using the block method alone will not stop other podcast directories or a web browser from accessing your podcast feed.

Note 2: Other podcast directories may need to be contacted directly to request removal. Most podcast directories do not recognize the iTunes block tag.

Remove entire show / podcast series from other Podcast Directories

Though many podcast directories will remove a podcast after a number of months of the feed reporting a 404 (page not found) response, some may require you to contact the directory to request removal.

Assuming you submitted a podcast only feed to iTunes, all you need to do is remove the podcast episodes from your site. Once the feed is empty WordPress will report the empty feed URL with a 404 (page not found) response.

If you plan on taking the entire web site down, then no further action is necessary. Simply by removing your WordPress web site the URL to your podcast feed will report a 404 (page not found) response.

If you submitted a WordPress feed URL (like the default blog feed or a category feed), then you may need to write a rule in your server’s .htaccess file (if ModRewrite is supported). Please contact yoru web hosting provider or server administrator for assistance with creating a file not found response for specific URLs on your server.

WARNING: If you are using a feed caching service such as FeedBurner, you will need to follow their instructions with how to convert your feed to a 404 (page not found) response.

iTunes complete feature

iTunes also provides a special tag <itunes:complete> that can notify iTunes that your podcast is no longer producing episodes.  This option tells iTunes to stop pulling your podcast feed every 4 hours. Configuring this option does not remove your podcast from iTunes.

Warning: This feature may be permanent. Once you mark your podcast series as complete, you may no longer be able to publish new episodes to iTunes with this feed URL or with the program / show title.

Enable the iTunes “block” and “complete” features in PowerPress

As a safety precaution we require a specific define line in your wp-config.php to enable this feature. WE do this to prevent users from accidentally causing permanent damage to their iTunes listing.

To enable the iTunes block and completed features in PowerPress, add the following define to your wp-config.php:

define('POWERPRESS_NOT_SUPPORTED', true);

The define above can be added on a new line anywhere in your wp-config.php so as long as it is above the require line found at the bottom. If you are not familiar with editing the wp-config.php, please provide the information on this page to a qualified server administrator or web developer to add this line for you.

Once the define above is in your wp-config.php, new iTunes Block and iTunes Complete options will be available in PowerPress iTunes Settings tab. The options will also be available for category podcasting, podcast channels, post type podcasting, and taxonomy podcasting specific iTunes settings.

For using the <itunes block> option on a per-episode basis, go to PowerPress Basic settings tab and enable the option “iTunes block”. This option is only available when the define above is in your wp-config.php.