It occurred to me the other morning driving to work while listening to my customized playlist of audio news & podcasts stream from my iPhone, that my move from terrestrial radio to the Internet has just about come full circle.
When I bought my first iPod in December 2004- 30gb iPod Photo, I almost immediately began listening to podcasts that I would download through a 3rd party "podcatcher" and import into iPod (later automatically synced through iTunes and then to my iPod each morning). The iPod would go with me in the car to work and I would listen through an audio jack to my Auxiliary input in my Infinity M35. The audio input was really for DVD players but served the purpose for me just to get the audio. Apple even included the cable with the 3rd Generation iPods.
I had started listening to one of the early pioneers of podcasts, Adam Curry, and his Daily Source Code. This was initially fascinating to me as he was living outside of
I was hungry for more programming and became an early subscriber to a handful of other early adopter podcasts.
One of the first I found was WTOP Radio in Washington DC, a 24/7 news station in the Nation's Capital that would take their on-air short segment features and interviews and package them up into a podcast generally lasting less than 5 minutes. Their access to Washington-insiders was fascinating and something I couldn't get on local radio in bite-sized segments. Since then, most other talk terrestrial radio stations and personality-formatted music stations have done the same. Digitally record normal programming, edit (sometimes), package, tag, and upload.
The challenge I had with iTunes podcast functionality was and still is that unless you wanted all the shows to automatically be deleted upon listening, you had to go in manually and delete the file once you had listened to it to free up space on your iPod. This became a weekly chore for me as some of the files I would want to save and perhaps listen to again later.
So for several years I maintained this library of content and listen to it in the car to and from work, around the yard, walking the dog, and whenever I wanted to multi task on the move. It became habitual for me, but I never could see the general public making this same effort despite the fact that the iTunes Podcast inventory increased to thousands of different titles and it could be automatically downloaded.
Addendum: General Motors & Ford have announced a partnership with Stitcher that will bring it into vehicles directly.