Dayanna Volitich on the History of Podcasts

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People now speak of “podcasts” as if they are the most normal thing in the world. In reality, however, they haven’t been around for all that long. Dayanna Volitich is a teacher with an interest in all things history and all things tech. As a result, she felt it was important to give people a quick reminder of what podcasts are and where they came from.

Dayanna Volitich on the Story that Starts in 2004

In 2004, Dave Wilner and Adam Curry created what is now believed to be the first ever podcast. It isn’t clear which of the two did what exactly, which is why they are credited together. However, although they created the first podcast, the first time its name was mentioned was in a Guardian newspaper article around 2002, effectively combining the words “iPod” and “broadcast”.

In 2004, Libsyn.com launched and they, Liberated Syndication, were the first podcast provider to have launched. In 2005, Adam Curry teamed up with Ro Bloom and started mentioning “Quit Your Day Job”, because there were a number of producers who had already been able to turn podcasting into a goldmine.

In 2005, This Week in Tech aired for the first time. This was also the program that one the first Podcast Awards in the People’s Choice Awards. That same year, the first book on podcasting was released by Todd Cochrane and Apple released iTunes 4.9, which was done specifically to support podcasts. Furthermore, President George W. Bush started to release his weekly presidential address as a podcast, being the first president to do so. That same year, Yahoo relaunched itself and created a podcast search site that people could subscribe to. Meanwhile, Mommycast was able to get a deal with Dixie that was worth six figures. Additionally, the New Oxford American Dictionary included the word “podcast” and declared it Word of the Year.

The next year, the winner of the People’s Choice Awards was Mugglecast at the Podcast Awards. Steve Jobs demonstrated ow to use a keynote to create a podcast, through Garageband. The Blubrry Podcast Directory was also launched.

By 2007, the winner of the People’s Choice Awards was Keith and the Girl. Ricky Gervais’ first episode podcast was downloaded 261,670 times in a month, breaking the world record. Google acquired Feedburner, used to create podcasts that comply with the RSS feed of iTunes. However, Yahoo had to close their directory that year.

Just four years after the first podcast was created, Manager Tools won the People’s Choice Awards and WordPress abandoned their podcast plugin. They had to repair this due to the uproar. By this year, 37% of Americans had heard of the term “podcast” and 17% of internet users had used them.

Now, ten years on, podcasts continue to play an important role in society and on the internet. Whether they will spell the end of radio is still up for debate. Some believe that there is a place for both in the world, others are not so sure.

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