New York (December 8, 2005)–“Podcast” has been chosen as the Word of the Year for 2005 by the New Oxford American Dictionary. Defined as “a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player,” podcast will be added to the next online update of the dictionary, due in early 2006.
The word, derived from combining “iPod” and “broadcasting,” is something of a misnomer, of course, as podcasts may be listened to on any portable digital player, regardless of brand, or even a computer. The term’s first use is generally credited to Ben Hammersley, a journalist for the Guardian newspaper of London, in an article published in February 2004. A number of critics unhappy with the linking of Apple’s product name to the term have advocated the use of “audioblogging” or “blogcasting,” ultimately without success.
Stephen Downes of Canada reportedly first demonstrated the technology–RSS aggregation and syndication of audio files–in his Ed Radio application in June 2003. Former MTV VJ Adam Curry championed podcasting almost from the outset, offering readers of his blog an open source license for the script to download RSS feeds to an iPod that he named iPodder.
Although Apple’s iPod lends its name to the term, the company did not offer podcasting support in iTunes until version 4.9, launched in late May 2005. A directory of podcasts was also added to the iTunes Music Store at that time.
A long list of words vied with podcast to be recognized as Word of the Year, according to reports. One was reggaeton, the Latin American dance music that combines elements of reggae music with hip-hop and rap. Another has been much in the news of late linked to Sony BMG: rootkit, software installed on a computer by someone other than the owner, intended to conceal other programs or processes, files or system data.
Oxford University Press