I've read a few accounts of the history of podcasting, but most have been attempts to lure readers to a website without providing much meat. Most podcasting histories go something like this:
- Tristram Louis proposes enclosure element
- Dave Winer creates it
- Adam Curry says "neat idea, now let's copy the files to an audio device after they're downloaded" and makes the basis of iPodder, the first podcatcher
- The process became known as podcasting because of the iPod and the concept of broadcasting
I've actually come to accept the Wikipedia podcasting history as the truth (down right now, no link). I've just read an article by Daniel Martinez on Associated Content that has a bunch of names I've never encountered before. Assuming it's accurate (and I have no reason to believe it's not), I think I will use Daniel's article as my new definitive history of podcasting.
While few developers of RSS-capable blogging software or aggregators, at that time, made use of the enclosure element, in June 2003, Stephen Downes, a Canadian by birth and a renowned researcher noted for his online research daily newsletter, OLDaily.com, demonstrated aggregation and syndication of audio files in his Ed Radio application. Ed Radio scanned RSS feeds for MP3 files, collected them into a single feed, and made the result available as SMIL or Webjay audio feeds.
Give it a read. It's four pages, but an easy read and very informative.