Rob Glaser on RealAudio

I listened to the Larry Magid interview with Rob Glaser of Real. They were talking about the tenth anniversary of streaming RealAudio. I’m pretty sure I heard Glaser claim that they were the first to do it, which is patently false. Both WREK in Atlanta and WXYC in Chapel Hill were streaming 6 months before the time Glaser cites as their “origin date”.

I used to think that WREK had a claim for being first to stream as they were both on the same day but now I believe they have ceded that claim as WXYC was released to the public the day WREK went beta. So, WXYC was first but WREK gets the geek points. WXYC was using off the shelf packages and had help from Sunsite while WREK’s client, server and protocol (CyberRadio1) were written by the guy who was the general manager of the station, a guy named John Selbie.

Regardless of all that, a lot of people were streaming before the time Glaser claims that Real originated audio streaming.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

4 thoughts on “Rob Glaser on RealAudio”

  1. Tilted Edge says:

    It seemed more like an infomercial than a podcast. I have always hated realaudio because their streaming software is designed specifically to prevent people from downloading. If downloads were allowed, then you wouldn’t need realaudio. This company has been dedicated to stopping downloads since day one of it’s existence and their expensive server software helped make sure that only companies that could afford it would put be putting streaming content on the internet.

    It’s really great that nobody owns the mp3 format.

  2. Rob Greenlee says:

    Thompson Media owns the mp3 format and does have the legal right to charge people for the use of the format.

    Dave, They did make the streaming market happen in the dialup age. Sure others started doing it in a crude and in very low quality. Real was the first to make audio stream quality good enough to actually listen to for more than just a few minutes. Good quality audio streaming did begin at Real.

    Rob Greenlee
    WebTalk Radio

  3. dave says:


    Glaser wasn’t claiming that Real “made the streaming market happen”, he was claiming that Real invented internet audio streaming and was the first to do it. That isn’t true.

    I think you are the first person I’ve ever heard stick up for the audio quality of Real streams. I think they sounded like ass in 1995 and sound like ass compared to the alternatives even today.

  4. Rob Greenlee says:


    If you listen to a Real 20K stream and compare it to even a Windows Media 32k stream on my site it does sound a little better even today. The Windows format has a slight echo effect in the codex. Real is clean though a little hollow sounding. It is my understanding that Real or Progressive Networks did buy the initial set of codex from another company early on in their development, but quickly invested in improving the codex much faster than any one else at the time. I have worked with these formats since 1999 and Real did have better codex for many years as they invested in it. Sure Real streams sounded bad back in 1995, but so did everyone else. I do give Windows Media the quality edge now and is right up with mp3 at the same bit rate.

    I do agree Rob Glaser is stretching the truth about his invention of streaming audio. I do not understand how he can make that claim.

    Rob Greenlee
    WebTalk Radio

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