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What Was The First Podcast Ever Released?

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What Was The First Podcast?

In recent years, the podcasting industry has experienced a tremendous surge in popularity, captivating a global audience and making it a mainstream pastime for countless individuals.

With the abundance of podcasts available, covering a wide range of genres and topics, there’s something for everyone. Whether your interests lie in soccer or science, you can indulge in captivating discussions led by field experts all day long!

However, you might be wondering, what was the first podcast created?

Podcasting has a captivating history. It becomes even more fascinating when you delve into the important figures who played a crucial role in shaping the mainstream podcasting scene we know and love today.

So, if you want to discover more about the early years of podcasting and how it has evolved, keep reading onwards as we explore everything you need to know!

📋 Key Takeaways

What was the first podcast?

The first podcast to be ever released was “Radio Open Source” by Christopher Lydon, in the year 2003. However, it’s important to note that this was before the term “podcast” was actually coined.

Post the creation of the term “podcast,” the first show to be recognized as a podcast was “The Daily Source Code” hosted by Adam Curry, also known as ‘The Godfather.’ This show started in August 2004, shortly after the term “podcast” was introduced.

Who was the first big podcaster?

The first big podcaster is generally considered Adam Curry, a former MTV VJ. Curry started the podcast “The Daily Source Code” in August 2004, and it became very popular, helping to popularize the medium of podcasting.

Impact on Media and Communication

Podcasting revolutionized how we consume audio content, democratizing the media landscape by allowing individuals and small producers to share their voices globally.

This shift empowered niche topics and communities and transformed traditional radio by introducing on-demand, diverse content accessible to anyone with internet access.

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When Did People Become Aware Of Podcasts?

When Did People Become Aware Of Podcasts?

The first podcast service provider, Odeo, was launched in 2005. This platform allowed users to easily create, manage, and stream their podcasts. Soon after its launch, numerous podcasting services were created for the consumer and business markets.

Since then, the podcast industry has continued to grow exponentially. It is now used as a content-sharing tool and a powerful medium for marketing campaigns, educational programs, and political discussions.  

Today, the podcast industry is estimated to be worth billions of dollars, with a projected growth rate of 25% annually.

The Joe Rogan Experience, the most downloaded podcast in 2020, has over 190 million monthly downloads and continues to be one of the most popular shows in the world.

As technology advances and more user-friendly platforms become available, podcasts will likely become even more mainstream. With more people tuning in from around the globe, this will surely be an exciting journey for podcast listeners everywhere.

How iTunes Paved The Way For Podcasts

However, podcasts go further back than this, well into the 1990s. They first became more popular in 2005, and it was all thanks to iTunes!

With the release of the iTunes 4.9 update, people gained unprecedented access to podcasts. They could now easily subscribe to their preferred podcast creators and create playlists seamlessly combining music and podcasts.

The early predecessors of Apple Podcasts were game changers that opened the platform to the mainstream, allowing people to listen to podcasts on the go.

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This allowed podcasters to create podcasts, reach more listeners, and monetize their content, leading to the podcast industry’s exponential growth.

This platform integration marked a significant shift in how people consumed personal audio and video content.

While the iPod was not the sole device used for audio files consumption at the time, it was quite common for individuals to own a more versatile MP3 device.

Due to Apple’s significant PR power compared to other companies, they dominated the market extensively.

But, this doesn’t mean that Apple in any way invented podcasting, so, where did all of this begin?

When Did People Begin To Podcast?

beginning of podcasting

The landscape was vastly different in the early 2000s compared to the present day. Many of the super-quick communication systems and podcast service providers we rely on have yet to be developed.

Consequently, a significant amount of time was dedicated to establishing networks and systems to enhance communication speed, affordability, and efficiency.

The history of podcasting often intertwines with music streaming, particularly due to the higher demand for music. However, it is important not to overlook the significant history of podcasting.

In 2004, journalist Ben Hammersley coined the term “podcast” in an article for the British newspaper, the Guardian.

In this article, Hammersley stated that a revolution was occurring in the audio world and said, “But what to call it? Audio Blogging? Podcasting? Guerilla Media?”.

But while this might be the first mention of the term podcasting, it’s still not where podcasting began!

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Before this, Adam Curry and Dave Winer, who were broadcasters and software developers, had come together to try to popularize the use of RSS feeds that promote the sharing of music, texts, and videos.

During this time, an entrepreneur named Tristan Louis proposed sharing videos and audio via RSS to Winer and several other developers. This approach would later prove to be significantly more efficient.

The podcast’s founding is credited to Louis’ entrepreneurial skills, Curry’s previous ideas about file sharing, and Winer’s expertise with RSS feeds.

Their collective effort brought together a significant contribution to the podcasting industry.

What About Elsewhere?

old cassette tape

Whilst most of the Western world will consider Curry, Winer, and Louis to be the inventors of the podcast, some claim that podcasts were invented in Russia long before this, however. 

The Illusion of Independent Radio, a program on Russian radio, featured music, panel discussions, and interviews. A secretive underground network of subscribers made these possible.

At the time, this audio partner was dedicated to Russia’s underground culture and was known as “Hurray Boom Boom!” It was a magazine.

From 1989 to 1990, the producers of this program exchanged ideas and music across Eastern and Western Europe.

Resembling contemporary podcasts, they recorded and created audio in their home studios. This content was consumed by listeners, free from corporate or governmental influence.

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Despite the absence of the internet, this audio was distributed to podcast listeners through cassette tapes. Nevertheless, it possesses many qualities that people often use to describe a podcast.

In fact, the podcast as we know it today reflects much of the criteria established by Curry, Winer, and Louis. It encompasses ideas and audio content delivered in the most efficient manner possible.

Although they lacked an RSS Feed, the cassette still served as an effective means of delivery, independent distribution, and creation, capturing the attention of a willing audience.

Pros and Cons

👍✅ Pros👎❌ Cons
📜 Rich History: Offers insights into podcasting’s origins, showcasing its evolution.🕰️ Nostalgia Focus: May overshadow current innovations in podcasting.
🌟 Pioneer Inspiration: Highlights key figures like Adam Curry, motivating new creators.👤 Individual Focus: Risks underplaying the broader podcast community’s role.
🔬 Tech Advancements: Details how technology, like Apple’s iPod, boosted podcasting.💻 Tech Overemphasis: Could downplay the importance of content and creativity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did early podcasts differ from today’s podcasting format?

Early podcasts were much more rudimentary in production and distribution, often lacking the sophisticated editing, sound quality, and thematic focus that characterize today’s podcasts.

Initially, they were more about experimentation with the medium and sharing content in a new way, rather than the polished productions we’re accustomed to now.

Can you trace the influence of podcasting on traditional radio programming?

Podcasting has significantly influenced traditional radio by introducing on-demand listening and niche targeting concepts. Radio shows have started to adopt podcast-like features, including serialized storytelling, in-depth interviews, and listener interaction through social media.

This convergence has blurred lines between the two mediums, with many radio programs now available as podcasts.

What role did technology play in the podcasting boom?

Advancements in technology, particularly in mobile devices and high-speed internet, played a pivotal role in the podcasting boom.

The ability to easily download or stream audio content on-the-go transformed podcasting into a convenient form of entertainment and education, making it accessible to a broader audience.

Platforms like iTunes and later Spotify simplified discovering and subscribing to podcasts, contributing to their exponential growth.


What Was The First Podcast

Today, podcast networks, podcast directory services, and podcast apps allow users to search for and find what they are looking for easily.

With more people tuning in daily, the podcast industry will continue growing.

The podcast’s history is complex, but there’s no denying that it has evolved into one of the best forms of communication ever.

So, whether you believe in the true origins of the podcast or not, it’s time to start listening. What are you waiting for?

There’s something out there for everyone, so find one you like and get listening!

Matt Brook

With a background in Journalism and years of experience in the industry, Matt brings a wealth of knowledge to the WiredClip team.

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