We start with the assumption that you’ve registered your show with iTunes or Apple Podcasts through Podcasts Connect.
This means your show is visible on the Apple Podcasts app and iTunes.
So you have a new episode ready to go. You upload it from your laptop to your host as shown in the image above. Once this happens, your host alters your RSS feed.
The change in the RSS feed is noted by Apple and it pings this information out to all the podcatchers in your subscriber’s phones. That is all Apple does. iTunes is a library of RSS feeds associated with individual podcasts. They do not host your files. So even if you download an episode through iTunes, you are still downloading the audio file from the host not iTunes.
From there your listeners’ podcatcher downloads your audio file from your host.
This means your host is able to keep stats on downloads.
I can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.