NPR looks back at its 17 years of podcasting

In a weekend posting on the website, the broadcaster looked back on its 17 years of activity in the podcasting space, including the podcast directory it launched in August 2005.

As the article, “Nearly forgotten today, alt.NPR was a brand of early NPR podcasts that launched on Nov. 8, 2005. It helped build the foundation for NPR’s most successful podcasts today.

“When NPR debuted podcasts, the offerings consisted primarily of broadcast excerpts culled from NPR itself, member stations and other providers. alt.NPR was one of NPR’s first efforts to create original content specifically for the podcasting medium. It was a place for experimentation and innovation, allowing those who wouldn’t normally be on the radio to host and produce their own content.

Mike Pesca, the host of the early alt.NPR offering On Gambling With Mike Pesca, was the first NPR reporter to host their own podcast. Other alt.NPR podcasts hosted by NPR employees include gaming podcast Press Start with Kyle Orland, Ralph Cooper and Robert Holt; music storytelling podcast Club Awesome! with Taylor Orci; and advice show What Would Rob Do? with Rob Sachs.  The hosts of alt.NPR podcasts weren’t limited to NPR employees. Along with On Gambling, PRX’s YouthCast and Groove Salad’s Taste of the Week with SomaFM founder Rusty Hodge were among the first three alt.NPR podcasts.”

Among the interview subjects is current Magnificent Noise co-founder Eric Nuzum, who was NPR’s Director of Programming and Acquisitions from 2004 to 2011,

The “alt.NPR” brand was a product of its time:  In October 2013, NPR began cutting its podcast offerings down from the hundreds to around 30 for reasons described in the article.

Read the full piece by Shirley Liu here.

Above: A collage of some of the early podcast square tiles for alt.NPR podcasts. (Source:

Kurt Hanson