I Podcasted before we called it that!
Today, I was reminiscing about my days on Radionet. Heck, it’s where the name “PhoneBoy” originated from. Back when Radionet first started, it was on an actual radio station: KSCO in Santa Cruz. We were even syndicated nationally for a time. Anyway, I think I became involved with the show at the end of 1995.
In October of 1996, we had a sort of falling out with the station owner and were booted from the airwaves. Ironically, I know station-owner Michael Zwerling through my step-father, though I was only a bit player in Radionet and thus didn’t have a lot of pull in the overall situation. As a result, we took the show “virtual” and did it purely over the Internet. That was sporatic. I think the last show I personally did was sometime in 1997. It looks like the last show Scott Free did was in 2001, at least based on this 2001 shapshot of radionet.com. The previous show was 1999.
Streaming audio was, like the Internet, a relatively new thing back in the mid-1990s. Considering bandwidth was limited, as was computing horsepower, RealAudio and the like were godsends (and this was before RealAudio discovered adware). Part of my tasks at Radionet, aside from being the call screener during the show, was encoding the weekly shows into RealAudio and Truespeech formats and posting them online for people to listen to.
One week, I think it was around Christmas of 1995, we didn’t do a show. Not sure why we didn’t, but we didn’t. So instead of doing a show, I decided to do a news report and post it for that week’s show. Tech news was done as part of our normal show at the bottom of the hour (i.e. half-past the hour), so it was considered a “normal” thing for us to do. Why not?
So what does this have to do with podcasting? Let’s face it, all a podcast is is an encoded audio file posted for people to download. Oh sure, there’s the whole bit about automatically downloading it to your iPod, but in its purest form, a podcast is simply an encoded audio file posted on the Internet. I was doing that almost a decade ago long before there was high-speed Internet connections in people’s houses or MP3s, iPods, or anything remotely like it.
It’d be cool if I still had some of those Radionet recordings around. It’d be even cooler if we could turn them into podcasts. Podcasts from the past. It’d certainly be interesting history to listen to. 10 years is a hell of a long time in Internet years. A lot has changed, but maybe not as much as we’d like to think.
Meanwhile, I hope my friends I worked with on Radionet are all doing well. I occasionally exchange emails with Fred. I haven’t done that with Scott or Shiela in ages. Dunno where Samantha disappeared to. Or the Silicon Surfer, John Bates. And whatever became of Dax, the board op we had during my time at KSCO? Maybe we could do a Radionet reunion podcast like the guys from TechTV did? Crazier things have happened…