Machinery and process for continuously making a compound filter rod include a tow transport for continuously delivering an expanded fiber tow while compressing the tow as it travels in a downstream direction. At least one rotating pocket wheel has a plurality of spaced apart pockets therein, and a filter media supply delivers media to the pockets. A vacuum source applied to the pockets of the rotating wheel operates to draw filter media into the pockets from the filter media supply. An air transport tube in alignment with the pockets of the rotating pocket wheel discharges the filter media from the pockets as they rotate past the transport tube. The discharged filter media is delivered to the tow transport into interior portions of the fiber tow. Subsequently, the rod is wrapped with filter paper.