Like it or not, even though it’s far from the first or only podcast directory, Apple’s version quickly leaps to the top of the power charts. Inclusion there can put a podcast in front of millions of potential listeners, many — maybe most — of whom won’t take the time to look anywhere else. That inclusion could make a podcast more valuable to advertisers. Public radio station KCRW, for instance, featured prominently at iTMS, just signed a six-figure, 26-week deal with Lexus to sponsor its podcasts. According to AdAge.com (reg. req.), the deal starts in October. As Ad Age notes, KCRW notched 25,000 downloads the week it started podcasting 22 shows. That number tripled after Steve Jobs mentioned the station. Expect it to go up again with membership in the directory. Lexus will be paying on a CPM basis—by the download.

Rafat Ali, on Apple’s strategy with podcasting.