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Brief History of Podcasting

Podcasting is known as a show, whether it be audio or video, that is released in episodes to the public. The name, which derives from Apple’s popular mp3 product, the iPod®, was designed to be streamed or downloaded to the user’s machine and then transferred to the user’s mp3 device. The user then could take the device anywhere, listening to their favorite personalities talk or acquire vital news information. These shows usually have a host to direct, organize and break up the information so that it is not a constant stream, this makes it easier for the listener to tune in and understand. There are many different ways to obtain a podcast. One is to directly download the entire show from the broadcaster’s website, another is to stream it from the same website if downloading is not an option, and lastly is to use a program to acquire the show which is similar to torrenting. Some of these options can be set to automatically download, while others need a more manual approach by the user. The files themselves come in various formats such as MP4, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis.

The term “podcasting” first appeared in an article by Ben Hammersly, the first one to use the term, in an issue of The Guardian. However, Adam Curry is believed to be the first person to actually come up with the idea of putting content into small files and releasing them episodically to the public. It was not until 2004 where the public really began to catch on, and big business started releasing their information over the internet via podcasts, and the public began to take hold of the idea. One of the first companies to make a device specifically used for transporting media such as podcasts was i2Go. They claimed that with their eGo player, in combination with their MyAudio2Go.com website, that users would be able to download episodes of sports, weather, music, and news right to their device, and take it wherever they want. The device also came with software that could automatically download content to the pc and whenever the device was connected, would automatically download to the device. The company then eventually folded.

The first person to come up with the idea of the RSS feed was Tristan Louis, who created the initial design. The idea wasn’t actually put into motion until Dave Winer developed the idea further and created the first actual RSS Feed. The feed was able to compile several types of media, but was not very popular at its outset. He along with several other people, including Adam Curry developed the idea of audioblogging. Stephen Downs, the creator of ED Radio, went on to create an application that gathered audio files and made them able to be streamed at several different locations. After this, and his challenging of everyone else on the internet to accept this new form of communication and information, several other people took hold of this idea, and began to use it to their advantage. Today, a remnant from that time, the oldest podcast still in existence is featured on Conversations Network, formerly IT Conversations, owned by Doug Kaye who has long had a history with podcasting.

Bloggercon, the first conference for web bloggers, was organized in 2003 by Dave Winer and his associates, and was held at the Berkman Center in Massachusetts. The content of the conference featured new technology that was being developed by several of the pioneers of the podcasting and information technology field, and a celebration of the founders and creators of the technology. In 2004 many other people, including many major news and entertainment business started using the podcasting idea to present their products to the masses. While many of the early massively produced podcasting software was not very successful, the very first podcast software with a user-friendly look and feel was iPodderX, which later changed its name to Transistr, created by August Trometer and Ray Slakinski in a bid to create the next generation of podcasting technology and user interface. After the creation of iPodderx, or Transistr, the market became flooded with other companies and software developers looking to create a similar way of getting their podcasts out to he public. Soon after the term “podcasting” which, up until that point had been known by many other names, most notably audioblogging, had been taken up by the general public by way of several very known personalities who had adopted it for their own use. After 2004, the huge boom in companies creating their own podcasts and distributing them had seen a record high, and the public’s adopting of podcasting and RSS technology saw an accepting of a great transfer of information which translates today where podcasting is commonplace and a wonderful and entertaining medium of expression.


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