Internet Talk Radio: Podcasting Like It Was 1993

carl

In 1993, I started a radio station on the Internet, engaging in activities that later became known as podcasting and webcasting. I’m pleased to say that I’ve finished uploaded the archive of Internet Talk Radio to the Internet Archive.

I ran the radio station from 1993-1996, and it was an exciting time on the Internet. Our flagship program was Geek of the Week, but we also were able to get one of the broadcast booths in the National Press Club to send out their luncheons, and joined the Public Radio Satellite system so we send out programs like TechNation. It was early in the digital world, so we were able to convince Harper Collins to give us Internet rights to Harper Audio, an amazing collection of people like Anne Sexton, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Frank Herbert and J.R.R. Tolkien reading their own work. We also managed to get official Congressional press credentials and ran tie lines into the basement of the Capitol to send out live feeds from the floors of the House and Senate.

We also did a lot of special programs (check out John Perry Barlow, Cliff Stoll and the United Nations 50th Anniversary and published some really cool SoundBytes you could use for alerts and notifications, and had a thriving Christmas practice going until Santa got mailbombed in a nasty DDOS incident. I also uploaded some early press coverage and some of the presentations and letters in my files.

We ran Internet Talk Radio as a nonprofit corporation called the Internet Multicasting Service. I was very lucky that UUNET, Sun Microsystems, and O’Reilly & Associates signed up as our charter sponsors and especially fortunate at the amazingly talented staff that joined me to run the operation, especially Brad Burdick who ran systems, and Marty Lucas and Corinne Becknell, our immensely talented audio team. I also remember fondly my good friend Luther Brown, who left a job producing the news for Tom Brokaw at NBC to work for me and passed away a few years ago. You can hear his amazing voice reading Twas the Night Before Christmas.

I’ve been spinning the audio files on my servers continuously since 1993, but it is so nice to be able to upload this data to the Internet Archive where I know the data will live forever.

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