Podcast History in a Nutshell

The popularity of podcasts is definitely on the rise, and more and more people are identifying niche-specific podcasts that they can enjoy on a daily basis. Podcasting is a form of audio blogging, and roughly speaking it started back in 2004. However, the technology used for broadcasting is not exactly cutting edge, it’s mainly our ability to enjoy that content that has evolved over the years. So, it’s reasonable to assume that the roots of podcasting date way back. Here, we are going to briefly examine the history of podcasting and see how we got here. 

Podcasting before World Wide Web

Although we enjoy the majority of our podcasts online, the first version of podcasting predates the era of fast and steady internet connection. Back in the 80s, there was software developed by Radio Computing services that radio stations used to create a digital format of music and talk shows.

Shows during the 90s

During the 90s there were already websites that contained audio music files, and talk shows that pretty much resemble the podcasts we have nowadays. However, there are a lot of differences between those talk shows and podcasts we have nowadays.

For starters communication and interaction with the audience is vastly different now than during the 90s. Today, the feedback and reaction to the podcast are more direct, also audience has more agency when it comes to the topics the show can explore because hosts are genuinely interested in what the audience wants to hear. Moreover, the topics of the podcasts are more niche-specific, as they don’t have to cater to people who are going to tune in at a specific time, they rather cater to the audience that is interested in the topic and can find podcasts on their own. 

The early 2000s

In the year 2001, the concept of Replay Radio emerged. It was an Internet Radio Show that is recorded and available for download via a link, pretty much like the podcasts today. In reality, the technology used for these Radio Shows was different which is one of the main reasons they were not called podcasts.

The term “Podcast” 

The term was first suggested by journalist Ben Hammersley back in 2004. It was a name that came to life thanks to the prevalent tech devices that were used for enjoying and creating the content. The term was used to describe content that was ready for download after recording and that audience can synchronously enjoy it as it is being made. The terms were widely accepted as many domains like podcast.net were purchased by users. 

In September 2004, more and more people began to look up the term on Google, and by October 2004 it was already categorized as a trend. This is how the terms were actually solidified or accepted by the community. In mid-October, the terms have already spread to Canada, Australia, and Sweden, and not just term the whole trend. People were podcasting on all sorts of the topic and a whole new subculture was born.