Scripting News: How podcasting got its name.

A picture named ipod.gifIn September 2004, the activity we called audioblogging was starting to gain traction. There were a dozen or so regular programs. We had tools for creating audioblog feeds, and an aggregator that could pull them all together into a river of audio programming.

I had my own show, Morning Coffee Notes. Adam Curry had Daily Source Code and together we did a short-lived audioblog called Trade Secrets. Adam was working on an open source tool that would bring Apple’s iPod into the mix. In September he opened the iPodder-dev mail list, which I publicized on Scripting News.

In the first days of the iPodder-dev mail list the term podcast was introduced and adopted as the name of the activity.

Here’s the sequence of events, with links.

1. On September 13, Adam posts the inaugural message on the iPodder-Dev list. (You will get a warning from Yahoo when you click on the link because the mail list has since been overrun by spam for porn sites. Oh the humanity!)

2. Lots of people introduce themselves, including Dannie Gregoire, a “reasonably competent Perl programmer” from Kentucky.

3. On September 15, Gregoire posts a message where he uses the term “podcaster.” I read this message, as did Adam.

4. In a phone talk, Adam and I discussed this, and agreed we needed a name for the activity, and that Gregoire’s suggested term was pretty good, so we agreed to use it. The conversation was recorded and distributed as one of the Trade Secrets shows. (Note: I’m not sure of the date of this podcast.)

5. Gregoire recalls the sequence of events in a post to the list on September 20.

6. On September 24, I wrote a definitive page explaining what a podcast is.

7. On September 27, I decided to rename the audioblogging session for the upcoming BloggerCon, Podcasting. Adam was the discussion leader.

8. On September 28, Doc Searls wrote a post entitled DIY Radio with Podcasting. I couldn’t locate a subsequent post where he did a Google search and found zero hits for the term, predicting that there would be a lot more, as the idea caught on.

  • On second thought, that post might have been written by Rex Hammock.
  • Update: Apparently it wasn’t Rex, but he has a quote from Doc’s missing post.

Finally, a Google Trends graph clearly indicates that the term was introduced in September 2004.


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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