Preserve This Podcast

The Metropolitan New York Library Council launched the Preserve This Podcast initiative last month in an effort to ensure the medium’s history isn’t lost to time. Now the not-for-profit is launching its own podcast about podcast preservation. The launch of the show Preserve This Podcast is timed to coincide with a series of workshops it is holding nationwide to help educate the industry about the risk of “digital decay” in podcasting.

“We've seen how changes in the industry – from the monetization of hosting and distribution services to the acquisition or dissolution of content production departments – can affect the availability and continued existence of podcast content,” says Preserve This Podcast host and producer, Molly Schwartz. “And with the launch of our podcast and workshops we hope to empower podcast producers and address what is an increasingly urgent issue.”

As Podcast News Daily reported last month, the Metropolitan New York Library Council believes it’s already difficult to be sure how much of podcast history has been lost to time. A sample of 125 shows from the 2005 Podcast Core Sample on the Internet Archive found about 87% of podcasts from the 2005 era are no longer available online. And 98% are no longer available in Apple Podcasts. For the majority of these podcasts, their RSS feeds are no longer maintained, their website URLs have expired, and their audio files are no longer playable. It is difficult to determine how many of their creators have taken steps to preserve these episodes on their local devices.

Armed with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project conducted a survey of podcasters and discovered 62% are “not at all” familiar with archival practices when it comes to managing digital files. That’s where its education efforts hope to play a role.

The first episode of Preserve This Podcast will be released March 21 with future episodes published every other Thursday. The first workshop to train podcasters on archiving materials will be held at the Metropolitan New York Library Council on Friday, March 22. Get details and register for the free event HERE. And download a zine illustrating best podcast preservation practices HERE.