Monday, December 22, 2014


I'm really curious whether the extent of Serial's popularity will increase the overall audience of podcasts.

I listen to a lot of podcast (the ones I listen to are all listed under the "Pods" heading to the right), even moreso since we moved in August. The move added a 15 minute walk in each direction to my commute to work. Which means an extra half hour of podcast listening time each day. I think that 2014 was a great year for podcasts. There has been an explosion of good ones lately. Actually, a lot of the new ones are descendants of This American Life, which is still one of my favorites. Serial itself is a TAL spinoff. So is Planet Money, an economics podcast I have listened to since it spun off in 2008. Startup tells the story of the efforts of Alex Blumberg, former producer of both TAL and PM, to start up his own podcasting network called Gimlet Media. Recently, Gimlet finally launched its first new podcast (other than Startup), called "Reply All." So that makes TAL Reply All's great-grandpod (And Reply All is a new incarnation of TLDR, which was a spin off from On the Media, another NPR show turned podcast. Most roads in the popular podcasting world lead back to NRP).

As far as I can tell, none of those, or any of the others, have had the kind of break out popularity of Serial. That is, they haven't attracted a following by people who don't otherwise listen to podcast like Serial has. But maybe Serial will bring more people into the podcasting niche? I have been seeing a whole lot of lists like these as Serial came to an end. Which is great for me too, because I'm always looking for podcast recommendations. Also Welcome to Night Vale is on just about every recommendation list and everyone really should be listening to that.