By Rex Hammock, CEO

One of the content gifts the internet gave us is podcasting. Before podcasts came along, the ability to push audio messages to a global audience was limited to various types of radio signals requiring licenses and expensive equipment to operate. We’re talking everything from ham radio to CB to pirate radio to the old soup-can and string. In other words, podcasting was radio for the rest of us.

I remember the day I first heard about podcasting: It was September 29, 2004, thanks to blogging and podcasting pioneers Dave Winer and Doc Searls. I was immediately intrigued with the concept of using a blogging platform to syndicate audio files. To use a simplistic description, podcasting, like blogging, uses a web feed called RSS to push audio files into the world—without the complexity of other models. 

Here’s what I wrote that day 16 years ago. 

I can see magazines, associations, churches, schools and companies utilizing podcasting to distribute regular audio content to their audiences. Lots of companies have dial-in conference call presentations that could be easily made asynchronous via podcasting. 

During the past 16 years, many skeptics have declared podcasting dead. The skeptics were obviously wrong: Edison Research estimates that today there are 850,000 podcasts with more than 30 million episodes. (Of course, there are more than 5 million blogs, so podcasts have a way to go to catch up.)

Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for one prediction from that early blog post to come true:

I can see a much quicker adoption timeline for CEO podcasting than CEO blogging. Stick a microphone in front of a CEO and say, “What would you like to tell your employees today?” and you’ll get a much quicker buy-in than sitting a keyboard in front of them and saying, “Blog a message for the world to read.” 

I still believe that podcasting has limitless potential to be used inside enterprises, associations and communities of passionate people. Podcasting is not only a tool to reach fans of politics and true crime novels, but also it’s a transformative communication tool for launching new services and reaching worldwide audiences.

(Sidebar: I also believe podcasting is a great example of how transformative technology can take a long, long time to become the next big thing.)

Image: Getty Images

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