I hear today is Podcast Day. And to celebrate, Harvard has a story which acknowledges that much of the early work of podcasting happened there. It's true, but I think the story, and the role that Harvard played, and others, is somehow lost.
So I recorded a 20-minute re-telling of the tale of podcasting, from my point of view. Starting with my meeting with Adam Curry in 2000 in NYC, early experiments with Grateful Dead music, Berkman, BloggerCon, Chris Lydon, with a hat-tip to Doug Kaye and Steve Gillmor who were also doing early podcasts at the same time.
Then to the summer of 2004, when I started Morning Coffee Notes, and proved that someone who isn't a radio star can make something interesting enough to listen to, and that roughly is when the idea really started to take off. Adam's Daily Source Code came in August, then Trade Secrets, the iPodder mail list, the term podcasting, Tony Kahn and WGBH, and the first 20 podcasts. Someone should make a list and put those names on a wall, because when they started, that's when podcasting really was ready to go. All the previous steps were necessary, the technology, the idea of a series of interviews, the talk show format, and the involvement of NPR.
Harvard provided an environment where this could happen, where the people could come together. I would say you have to credit Charlie Nesson, Jon Zittrain and John Palfrey for setting up that environment, trusting us to do something good with it. I remember the day I started there, they gave me a key to the office so I could use it any time I wanted. JP got me the space I needed for BloggerCon and the Thursday evening meetups, and helped explain what we were doing to the other parts of the university that wondered if all this would lead to something worth doing. Now we can close the loop, clearly Harvard feels it was. So we should do more of it! Let's keep digging. A campus like Harvard's is an incredible experimental kitchen for cooking up new stuff like podcasting.
PS: As with all my podcasts this one is imperfect. The last minute or so was cut off. How did it happen? No clue! But the story is still there, and I think it's a good one.
PPS: I cross-posted this piece on Facebook using the new Notes feature.