Back in the mists of pre-history, about 1987, MTV hired a photogenic guy with long, flowing blonde hair and a shiny jacket worn with the sleeves pushed up to the elbows. At that time, when the network actually played music videos, they needed a VJ to introduce the clips. Hard as it may be to believe to readers of a certain age, fast forward 20 years and this same guy, Adam Curry, became one of the founding fathers of the podcast.
Call him “the Podfather” if you like.
What exactly did Adam do that was so great? Well, in 2003, in a shining example of do-it-yourself ingenuity, and with no special training in computer programming, Curry cobbled together the world’s first podcatching client program, managing to harness the power of the recently created enclosed-media tags in RSS 2.0 feeds. His stroke of genius was to make his new podcast show available for anyone to download during their computer’s down time.
Don’t worry or start gnawing fingernails if you’re not intimately familiar with terms like “RSS 2.0” or “podcatching client” right now. Before you’ve gone much further in this book, you’ll be a freakin’ expert. Promise. The important thing to remember is it’s impossible to talk about the early days of podcasting without paying homage to Adam Curry.
His first podcast, called the Daily Source Code (DSC), followed in the grand tradition of the popular 1990’s television show Seinfeld, proudly proclaiming itself to be the first “podcast about nothing.” As we all should have learned by now, never underestimate the power of nothing. Nothing sells, maybe not quite as well as sex, but it’s a pretty formidable commercial venture in its own right. Though the DSC came to an end on May 15, 2011, after 800 and some odd episodes, Curry can still be heard with his podcasting partner, John C. Dvorak, cranking it
up on a new show, The No Agenda Show. You can tune into the latest podcast at this website:
Of course, Adam Curry didn’t create the world of podcasting all by himself. There were a handful of other influential creative and technological spirits who helped kick start the global adoption of the podcasting phenomenon: Dave Winer, Doug Kay, Rob Walch, Mur Lafferty, and even the inadvertent contributions of evil (just kidding) geniuses Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
As a sidenote – contrary to popular belief – podcasting is not named after the Apple iPod, though consumer love for the product certainly helped the new medium spread across the planet like Justin Bieber fans. It is believed the first use of the term “podcast” was in 2004 to describe the process by which a person could subscribe to a media file via an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The file is automatically downloaded to the user’s computer, then transferred to the portable device of his or her choice, like an iPod (Apple sycophants begone!), Zune, or any other MP3 player. If you’re interested in learning more about the early days of podcasting, never fear, the topic will be addressed in more detail later. First we need to get you up and running on the nuts and bolts of planning, producing, and publishing your very own show (Top image: Flickr | DonkeyHotey).
The Speaking of Wealth Team