Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The First Webcast

There are thousands and none seem to succeed fiscally. Not even the trendy and popular ones manage to get by on ad revenues Ex.WOXY. It's the first one certainly deserves the most attention. Of course, the entire way that information and, yes, audio is being broadcast has been changed over the past few years. Not only have satellites and the Internet made a difference, but even more innovations in getting information from one place to another are developing, often as a combination of more than one technology.

The first Internet broadcasts appear to be way back in 1993. The IMS (Internet Multicasting Service) was set up in Washington, D.C., as a non-profit experiment. There is an archive of some of their early programs here:

The IMS ran a cable up to the roof of the National Press Building, then directed a high-speed wireless link to the White House lawn to allow the President to see his first live Internet broadcast. In January of 1994, despite the objections of the SEC and the U.S. Patent Office, the IMS posted the full text of all Patent and SEC documents for free. They also hosted the first online databases from the General Services Administration (GSA) , the (FEC) Federal Election Commission, the Federal Reserve , and the Government Printing Office. They topped it off by , providing audio feeds from the floor of House and Senate. They had in excess of 50,000 users per day.

They provided all services free for 18 months then threatened to shut it down. They gave 60 days notice that they were killing the service. The SEC took over their own hosting. The pansies at the Patent office threw a fit and refused to have their data online.