I began listening to podcasts in late 2004. Since then, I’ve downloaded (tens of?) thousands of individual podcast episodes. Most of these were listened to once and immediately deleted. Why would I ever want to listen to an episode twice, I thought. It’s been well over a decade since those early days of the medium. At times, I think it’d be nice to revisit some of the first podcasts I listened to. Problem is, many of those shows have disappeared from the internet, while others that are still around no longer keep full archives of their episodes online.
Not all hope is lost when it comes to revisiting pods of yore. In February of 2005, Jason Scott, a blogger and avid collector of digital media, took on the task of downloading and saving all of the podcasts he could find:
So one day I looked at Podcasts. I liked some aspects of them, so I am downloading all of them. Every one. I am going back and swiping older ones as I can find them, but I’m still in the process of getting every single one, so it’s taking some time. I have them in languages I’ve never spoken, and I have listened to less than one tenth of one percent of them. At last count I’m at 75 gigabytes of podcasts which works out to roughly 7,500 individual files. I suspect there are doubles and many missed files, but we’ll see if that comes with time.
Last year, Jason began uploading his collection of podcasts to the Internet Archive. Last month, he announced that the collection was live and accessible to the public. These files can be found under The 2005 Podcast Core Sample Collection. Jason estimates that the collection holds about 14,000 files saved from about 540 different shows.
I’ve searched the collection for shows I listened to (and produced) from 2004/2005. I’ve had some hits and some misses. Regardless, it’s great that this collection is now available to anyone who’d like to hear what podcasting sounded like in the beginning.
Tip of the hat to Radio Survivor, who covered the Core Sample last week.