By now, you’re surely aware of the Serial podcast from WBEZ and This American Life. If you’ve not had the opportunity to hear it, Serial is a story told over a whole season–long long long-form journalism. The first season told the story of a murder trial and conviction that happened nearly fifteen years ago. The primary character–Adnan Syed–has been imprisoned in a Maryland correctional facility and Serial suggests that he may or may not have committed the crime. The season concluded on Thursday morning with the release of its twelfth episode. By most accounts, the podcast was/is a triumph. I can’t remember a single media source affecting so many people around me–not a one.
What intrigues me, though, is that Serial may open the floodgates of podcast listening among the masses. At the end of the final episode Sarah Koenig made an unsubtle plug for their other podcast/radio show This American Life. She invited listeners of Serial to expand their experience of podcasts and radio to other forms and, I hope, sparked curiosity about what other forms of radio can be experienced.
Radio, like television, is increasingly consumed on-demand rather than in real time. Over the week I accumulate a half-dozen new television episodes and as many radio shows to catch up on during down time. As entertaining as Serial is, I hope that more listeners will tune in to other great podcasts.
Below I’ll list some of my favorites.
Beyond those that are broadly appealing, there are countless niche podcasts that bring new topics to life and allow devoted people to delve into their subjects deeply. Some that come to mind are Two Gomers where you follow two relatively unathletic fellows who first attempt to run a half marathon then tackle other races and The Spokesmen that is a roundtable discussing all things cycling related.
What others should I be listening to? What are some of your favorites?