Have you ever wondered how and why podcasts started?

Podcasts are a revolutionary format constantly growing in popularity as of 2021. There are about 1.7 million podcasts available, with over 43 million episodes.

Many podcasts have more listeners going over millions every week. The rising popularity of podcasts makes you wonder what makes them so special. In this guide, you’ll learn more about the benefits, reasons to try, and history of podcasts.

What’s So Different About Podcasts?

A podcast is different from other forms of audio content. It is asynchronous, meaning that it depends on a stream of transmission, like the radio. You can get podcasts online and offline, which means that you can play them anywhere at any time.

Podcasting earned its position over traditional media for the modern age. Traditional media forms tend to spoon-feed content over long periods. For example, cable TV typically lets you watch one episode of your favorite shows at certain times.

A distinctive feature of podcasts is the voluntary nature of the listeners. Users have to be productive and proactive to find podcasts that they want to listen to. You can subscribe to the services and collect your favorite podcasts via apps.

Reasons to Try Podcasting

Through the evolution of podcasts, they now have a variety of genres. Although there is a wide library of content, podcasts can get very specific. You can find subjects for exploring history or getting lessons for classes.

The best part of podcasts is that they’re very convenient since you can listen from any device. It is also accessible in many software and apps, such as Spotify and iTunes. They are the new way to tell stories in a new and interesting method.

Podcasts have more personal ads directed to the target listeners. For example, when you’re listening to a comedy podcast, the goods advertised relate to humor and the audience. You also won’t have to listen to interrupting ads and pauses that destroy the immersion.

Creating your own podcasts is now a new way to make some cash. You can get money through sponsorships, grants, and crowdsourcing. If you want to make a podcast, work with Podcatalyst for professional booking.

The History of Podcasts

When and where did the making of podcasting start? Podcasts are audio discussions for certain topics, but when was the first podcast? Here are the important years that explain the evolution of podcasts from 2004 to the present day.

2004: The First Podcast

After the creation of the first iPod in 2001, Adam Curry and Dave Winer came up with an idea. The plan was to create something that would allow them to download online radio broadcasts. You would have to download from the Internet and transfer the broadcasts to the iPod.

Winer, a software developer, created a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) aggregator software. Curry, a former MTV VJ, coded a program called the “iPodder.” This helps you extract audio files using the RSS feed to transfer into the iPod.

When February arrived, a journalist named Ben Hammersley published an article about “podcasting.” He made the term by mixing the two words: “iPod” and “broadcast.” It was the term that stuck around compared to the other two, which were Audio blogging and GuerillaMedia.

By October 2004, the first podcast service provider emerged. They named the first podcast Liberated Syndication (Libsyn.com). Before the end of the year, the search for podcasts on Google reached 100,000.

2005: First Award and Book

This was the year when the term “podcast” reached the New Oxford American Dictionary. It became the Word of the Year, which boosted its appearance as an emergent media trend. Another podcast appeared in April called The Week in Tech, hosted by Leo Laporte.

It also won the first People’s Choice Award for the Podcast Awards. In May, Todd Cochrane published the first podcast book called Podcasting: Do-It-Yourself Guide. Yahoo also joined in by launching a podcast search site to listen and subscribe to podcasts.

The most significant event during 2005 was when podcasts gained the Oval Office’s seal of approval. US President George Bush had his weekly address delivered through a podcast. Soon after, Apple’s iTunes made a directory filled with different podcasts.

2006 – 2014: Steady Growth

2006 was the year where all live audiences can listen and make podcasts away from Apple. In January, Steve Jobs demonstrated how to make podcasts using the free GarageBand app. A month later, a popular radio show launched a podcast version of This American Life.

Radio personalities and comedians joined and thrived during these years. Ricky Gervais achieved the Guinness Work Record for having the most downloaded podcast. He had about 260,000 downloads for every episode for only one month.

More podcasts got chosen for the People’s Choice Awards at the Podcast Award. This includes Tell em Steve Dave, 4Player, ESPN Fantasy Focus Football, and many more. The years 2006 to 2014 became the best years for starting a podcast.

2014 – 2016: Influence Grows

More celebrities appeared in podcasts, including presidents and YouTubers. President Barack Obama appeared on the WTF podcast hosted by Marc Maron. By July, many podcasters appeared were a part of the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame.

2017 – Present: It’s All About Podcasts

In 2017, Apple created a podcast analytic feature. This was also the year when Amazon Prime Video premiered a podcast called Lore. Spotify also became a popular podcast platform by working with Gimlet Media and Anchor FM Inc.

By 2020, a satellite radio company called SiriusXM expanded its podcasting efforts. They acquired Stitcher for a $325 million deal. Now, we have plenty of competing podcasting platforms and networks.

Get to Know More About the Evolution of Podcasts

Podcasts are special since you can only listen to the voice actors and actresses with their different tones and emotions. Through the history of podcasts, you can see why they grew in popularity. You can listen to many things to relax and educate yourself.

Do you want to understand more about podcasts? Take a look at our collection of guides for more helpful tips and history lessons. We also have plenty of fun facts that may brighten up your day.

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Last Update: March 8, 2021