I Just Learned Where The Word ‘Podcast’ Came From And I’m In Shock

It makes sense when you think about it but I had no idea that this is why we call them 'podcasts'.
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I love a good podcast.

Whether I’m learning more about science and history, listening to comedians talking about meals with film stars or recapping a nostalgic TV show with somebody from the cast, they’re the ideal form of entertainment for people who work at home or regularly travel.

However, I’ve never really known where they came from. They’re obviously from the roots of radio, but what else? How did they become so huge and, crucially, where did the word podcast come from?

The origins of the word ‘podcast’

According to Grammarist, the word is a portmanteau, which is a word constructed by blending the sounds and meanings of two different words.

It’s a blend of the word ‘iPod’ and the word ;‘broadcast’. I know, it’s SO OBVIOUS!

The word podcasting was coined in 2004 by Ben Hammersley, a journalist writing for the Guardian. It was popularised by Dannie J. Gregoire, an app developer and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2005.

Which, frankly, makes me feel really old.

Backlash against the word

Back in 2005, the BBC reported: “Some have criticised the term for giving too much credit to Apple, which had little to do with the development of the technology and some have tried to suggest alternative terms such as blogcasting or audioblogging.”

Of course, that didn’t quite work out and, at this point, the word ‘blogcasting’ just sounds adorable.

What was the first ever podcast?

According to the experts at Descript, Radio Open Source by Christopher Lydon was the first podcast, launched in 2003.

According to the Radio Open Source website: “We like to call Open Source “an American conversation with global attitude.” It was the first podcast and now it’s a weekly show on 90.9 WBUR, broadcasting Thursday nights at 9 and Sundays at 2pm.

“Drawing on our roots here in Boston, we’ll remind you why the city has been the capital of ideas in America since the heyday of Emerson and Thoreau in the 1840s.”