In 2001, when I first became aware of the Podcast concept, it was still called Audioblogging, and was very clunky (basically there were no ‘podcast clients’ or iTunes, it was just an RSS feed with an audio enclosure.) The adoption of RSS itself was in its infancy, years before the ubiquitous orange icon became standard on all sites. I was not particularly taken with the format, as there didn’t seem to be any practical use for it beyond re-purposing pre-existing media into a format that didn’t really have any easy way to consume it.
The podcast format didn’t really start to break through until Adam Curry (@adamcurry) began pushing it as an original content format with his Daily Source Code series, still going strong. But it wasn’t until April of 2005 when Apple added native podcast support in iTunes 4.9 that there became any chance of the format growing.
I really started paying attention to the format as a potential channel for compelling original content in 2006, when someone at work introduced me to Joe Vella, a long time jazz new media guy (remember JazzOnln.com? That was him) who found himself wanting to create content for the web that was intimate and told a story in a way that had been lost since the consolidation of radio. We started doing a series for Yo-Yo Ma, continued on to some Broadway titles, and at the moment we’ve got about 100 episodes created ranging from a 28-episode series about Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (which I’m really proud of) to another 25 episodes around Stephen Sondheim.
Stay tuned for Part 2 (which is much more interesting): The WHY.