A Brief History of Podcasting


 A Brief History of Podcasting

Have you ever listened to a podcast? What about when you need to go for a walk or the gym, but don't want to carry your phone or headphones with you everywhere? Podcasts are an excellent way for people who don't have time to learn more about new topics. They provide information on almost any subject you can imagine in quick and easy bites.

Historically, podcasts have been around for over two decades -- they were first recorded in 1974! But the rise of podcasting really took off in 2006 when Apple released its app, iTunes, which made podcast listening easier than ever. Today there are different types of podcasts and more than one billion episodes downloaded each year.

To learn more about podcasts and the history of this audio-based medium, we spoke with Joel Werner and Dave Jackson. Joel is podcast editor for The Guardian in London and author of The Podcast Handbook . Dave is a film commentator, radio broadcaster and podcaster. He is also the creator/host of The Film Vault podcast , which has been named as one of iTunes Best Podcasts of 2013 and 2014.

Read on to hear their thoughts on podcasting!

According to the Oxford English Dictionary , a podcast is "a regular program made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.

Joel: For me, the podcast is all about the relationship between podcaster and listener. I think of it as a one-to-one medium, unlike radio which has to be produced for people who might not be interested in the topic being discussed. It's kind of like making a mixtape for someone or writing them a letter; you're not doing it for everyone. The personality of the person doing the podcast plays an important part in attracting listeners because people are drawn to people they like hearing from or who have something interesting to say.

Dave: The goal of most podcasts is to offer more depth than what you can find on most traditional news and entertainment sources online and especially on TV. We try to offer a different perspective every week on some of the latest releases as well as some obscure ones that people might not otherwise think of. And since it's mostly us talking about these things, I think we're really honest about everything, which means we sometimes get in heated conversations that can be entertaining for the listener.

Joel: I think podcasts are great for the history enthusiast or autodidact who wants to learn more but doesn't have time to research everything. Podcasts allow people to pick and choose what they want to learn about and when they want to learn it. You'll find podcasts on just about anything you can imagine: history , literature , current events, hobbies, lifestyle...the list goes on.

Dave: Art: A podcast about painting. This was a real hit on iTunes, and is now a real hit on the big screen. It really shows the great potential of podcasting for film commentary -- small, conversational films with a lot of personality and interesting characters that can be made accessible to people who don't know much about the movies.

What is "The Film Vault" all about? Is it a film podcast, or is it more of an entertainment podcast? How do you feel it fits into what you are doing?

Dave: The Film Vault is both entertainment and information. We only interview actors, directors, and other filmmakers who we think are worth talking about given their particular contributions to our shared culture.


Podcasting is a fun way to learn more about almost anything you can imagine. Podcasts are available on almost every topic imaginable, from history and literature to art and gardening. With so many different podcasts out there, there's something for everyone. You can listen via your computer, smart phone or tablet as well -- many podcasts can be downloaded straight onto your device! What are you waiting for? Try it for yourself!

For more information on podcasts, including a list of the best podcasts in 2014 by NPR , click here .

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what is your favorite podcast? Please share it in the comments.

Article by Sarah Dunn at Scholastic Teacher . Used with permission.

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