Adam Curry, MTV, and the birth of podcasting (Part Two)

Want to listen to Internet audio programs but can't figure out when they are scheduled? Adam Curry, one of the...

Want to listen to Internet audio programs but can’t figure out when they are scheduled? Adam Curry, one of the original MTV VJ’s, created the iPodder application, which allows users to select and download shows and music to play whenever they want on their iPods, portable digital media players, or computers automatically, after specifying which music or shows they want to listen to.

The MTV pioneer is now the pioneer of a popular new movement on the Internet called podcasting, a method that allows people to subscribe to a set of media feeds from syndicated Web site content.

Adam is also founder of The Podshow Network, is the host and creator of the popular “Daily Source Code” podcast (http://www.dailysourcecode.com). He talked with us about his early days in radio and at MTV in the ’80’s. He discussed leaving all of his broadcast radio shows to pursue his passion for the early Internet and his part in the fast growth of podcasting.

DANA GREENLEE: How was your iPodder software born?

ADAM CURRY: I wrote the software for iPodder and actually got stuck because I didn’t know how to do a configuration file. I kept having to go in and hardcode these URLs into my script. I registered iPodder.org, put the script out there, and said, “Here it is. Help me.” The developers came, and within four hours the config problem was solved. Within four days, there were like three different projects going on: one in Python, one in Perl, one in Java, and I was like, “Whoa, this is cool!” I know there’s nothing harder than developing an application with nothing to test it against, so I committed to these developers, who were communicating with me through e-mail, saying I would do a show every weekday called The Daily Source Code, feeling ‘source code’ would appeal to developers, and then you will have something to test with.

GREENLEE: Was it inside of you to start creating content again? Seems like, in this business, once you become a broadcaster, it gets in your blood.

CURRY: Yeah, of course. I love broadcasting—I particularly love radio because it’s kind of doing it by yourself and you don’t need anyone to hold the camera, as it were. I kind of liked weblogs and was keeping a daily blog. People want to publish their thoughts and it is a form of broadcasting. What got me really excited about doing this with audio, as it turned out, there was a huge listener demand for better radio because everyone was so completely dulled out to the frickin’ bone by corporate radio.

GREENLEE: Do you think podcasting will be successful or fade away?

CURRY: In order to make money podcasting, you have to have a large audience—that’s the advertising model. There’s also the paid model, which Audible.com will be making more accessible to ‘the little guy’ in the future. But if you get a large audience you have to have a way to monetize it, otherwise you won’t be able to afford bandwidth. Probably around 50,000 listeners is when you can actually go to an advertiser and get some money that can basically help you quit your day job. But you don’t have to make money doing this. You can just have fun, for your friends and family. There is a ‘listener demand’ wave that we’re seeing. The mainstream media is now competing. The iPods and MP3 players were already competing for radio airtime. When podcasting came out, it was this new, compelling content—just like reality television, when it was actually real. People were saying, “Oh, my God. This is fresh. This is new. This is raw and it’s not regulated.” The competition is on!

Adam Curry’s web log is at http://www.curry.com, which also posts the latest Daily Source Code radio talk show.

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