As you settle in to immerse yourself in your favorite podcast, you may take for granted that you are enjoying a relatively new art form. Maybe you haven’t thought of it before, but podcasting is vastly newer compared to other similar media forms out there today. Even so, it has exploded onto the scene and has become something to be reckoned with.
As you adjust your headset and focus in on your favorite show, maybe you’ve thought about podcasting and how it came to be. If you have ever wondered about the beginning of podcasting and want to know it’s a brief history, then please continue on.
So you may be thinking, “who invented podcasting?” The answer to this question is complex and involves a milieu of tech innovators, journalists, and entrepreneurs.
Podcasting originated with the practice of “audio blogging,” but took on a new dimension with the development of smartphones and high-speed internet connectivity. True podcasting began in the early 2000s and was driven by a confluence of technological innovations and cultural factors.
Without a doubt, podcasts have fast become one of the most relevant forms of new media. People of all ages enjoy entertaining and informative podcasts from around the world and it’s all thanks to a handful of key individuals (https://internationalpodcastday.com/podcasting-history/).
Dawn of an Era
While it is unclear which party was responsible for specific aspects of the innovation, the inventors of podcasting are considered to be David Winer and Adam Curry (https://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/podcasting1.htm).
Curry was an experienced broadcast announcer and Winer was a software engineer who had worked on the development of the RSS format. RSS or, Rich Site Summary, is a web data format that allows for easy aggregation of updates and is critical for bloggers to reach their audiences with recent content.
Winer and Curry innovated software technology which would allow for RSS functionality to be integrated with uploaded episodic audio content. They also integrated the ability to download that content to a personal digital audio player such as an iPod. This sparked the dawn of a new era of broadcasting which was dubbed “podcasting.”
Popularizing the Term
The term “podcasting” is attributed to Guardian writer Ben Hammersley in a 2004 article (https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/feb/12/broadcasting.digitalmedia). Hammersley was attempting to come to grips with the nature of this burgeoning art form and pitched several possible names to describe it. The term struck a chord with journalists, bloggers, and the general public and has been the accepted name ever since.
Today, podcasting is a commonly used term to describe audio and video shows that can be downloaded and listened to on a computer or smartphone. As it’s gained in popularity, the phrase podcasting has become pretty generic but generally refers to any media that can be accessed via RSS, which allows direct access to the file. Audio is no longer the standard as video podcasting has also seen a rise in recent years.
Daily Source Code
The identity of the true originator of the first podcast is a contentious subject. However, one of the earliest and first true podcasts is Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code. DSC has become one of the most beloved and longest-running podcasts of all time. Curry discusses news, tech, and relevant topics within the world of podcasting.
While DSC is not technically the first podcast, it is one of the first to introduce the style, format, and technology that we now associate with podcasting. Curry is a crucial part of podcasting history and the popularity of DSC is a testament to the longevity of the format.
You Too Can Make History
Curry is famous for closing every episode of Daily Source Code with an iconic quote: “Live your life with passion – and, as long as it lasts, enjoy your freedom.” This closing statement serves as an inspiration to all aspiring podcasters to follow their dreams and pursue their creative visions.
Podcasting is the ultimate form of DIY media. If you have something important to share with the world, podcasting will provide you with a platform to make your voice heard. As podcasting increasingly becomes a ubiquitous source of audio media, there has never been a better time to forge your path.