But Curry, who left the music channel in 1994 and moved to Europe, may be remembered by even more people for his pioneering work in the emerging field of podcasting.
Curry, who dabbled in various Internet ventures after leaving his television gig, resurfaced last year as perhaps the most well-known face associated with podcasting, a technology that's opened the door for thousands of amateurs to create radio programs and find an audience for them on the Web.
Podcasting is more than a hobby for Curry, who has used it to launch a return to the airwaves this week with "PodShow," a new program he's hosting on Sirius Satellite Radio. The show, which is designed to showcase the best from the podcasting universe, is also Curry's own personal attempt to shake up what he sees as the homogenized landscape of corporate radio.
But is podcasting indeed part of a radio revolution in the making, or is it just another affectation that won't live up to the frisson of momentary attention? Curry talked to CNET News.com recently from his home in Guildford, England, where he podcasts the "Daily Source Code."
Q: I was able to listen to a bit of your podcast, the "Daily Source Code," the other day. It sounds like you're having a lot of fun with that.
Curry: Oh, yeah. I like it very much. I've been doing it for almost a year now.
Isn't podcasting a bit overhyped, though? After all, who wants to listen to some guy in Duluth waxing poetic about his tube-socks collection, for example?
Curry: Whether you're listening to or reading about someone talking about his tube socks, that could be deemed interesting to one or not interesting to most. But there's also some other stuff in there.
A lot of people are decent enough writers, and so the blogosphere is thriving. Aren't broadcast skills harder to come by?
Curry: Have you ever watched "The Osbournes"?
I haven't actually seen an episode, but I have heard about it.
Curry: Have you seen any real-life programming, what they call reality TV?
Sure. I've seen plenty of reality TV..."Supernanny," "The Bachelor"...
Curry: The first time you saw it, there was something interesting about it, right? It was probably because you'd never seen that before on TV. You're like, "Wait a minute. This is a different way of doing it. Something's changed here." Because there's actually real-life situations. Pretty much like the first time "Cops" came on. That was pretty exciting. You know, we've been beaten to death by it and it has nothing to do with reality programming because it's all sliced and diced and edited to pieces. But the first time you actually saw one camera unedited, following someone around, it was pretty interesting.
Now for 20 years, we've been listening to the radio, particularly in America, and it's all the same crap. No matter what market you go to, there's always a top 40 station, and then you have the light station, and then there's the news station--it's all the same.
What about NPR? It's pretty normal. It's sort of the exception.
Curry: No, I totally disagree. People aren't normal. And by the way, when you turn on NPR, you have the whole weekend filled up with pledge drives. It's normal, but it's the same. There is no difference. The NPR format has not changed...You may find it more normal and that's probably true, but it's still the same type of show, same type of station.
Now all of a sudden, you're exposed to that same, "Wait a minute." Here's something else, here's something new, here's something a little raw around the edges. It's not quite as polished--that's interesting.
You're obviously really passionate about it. How did you get so involved in technology and the Internet?
Curry: I've always been involved and interested in technology. I built my first radio transmitter when I was 14 and made my mom drive me around the block to see how far it would reach. And then by certain circumstances I started to work in radio...not as an engineer but as someone who was behind the microphone. And in the meantime--this is when I was 15 or 16--when I was that age I had a part-time job at an electronics store and the first Commodore, before the 64, came out. And it was interesting. And so I just kind of learned about it through that.
I understand you were actually involved in creating some of the podcasting technology. In fact, some news outlets are calling you "podfather" and credit you with inventing it. Did you honestly invent podcasting?
Curry: Well, it depends on what part of invention you're talking about. I stand on the shoulders of giants, and I didn't come up with the word. But I did tie all the pieces together. There was technology out there built by a number of people, including Dave Winer.
Speaking of Dave Winer, he was sort of ranting on his blog recently about all the credit you're getting around podcasting. Have you guys had a little fallout recently?
Curry: I asked him to create that last piece. He didn't. I programmed it. I'm not a programmer, so I had to learn how to program. It took me quite a while. And then I put it out in open source and said here's this
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