I never really grasped the concept of podcasts. I tried for a while, but in the early days of the iPhone, getting content to your device wasn't easy. It involved a multi-step process that was just too much work. Then came the iCloud.
I couldn't find any podcasts I liked anyway. Most of them were how-to tips and talk shows. Blech. I like a good story. So I forgot about podcasts and returned to reading fiction and celebrity biographies.
But then a couple of months ago, I wrote about a podcast that had the entire world talking. The podcast, called Serial, chronicles one reporter's journey as she attempts to learn more about the murder of a high school student in 1999.
Serial is the first podcast to win a Peabody Award, and has been called "an audio game-changer." The free podcast series has been downloaded more than 68 million times as of February of this year and season two will begin later in 2015.
So when I used up my Audible download for the month, I decided to see how many steps it would take to get this Serial podcast to my phone. I was surprised to learn there's a podcast app on my phone and all I had to do was search, then download all 12 episodes. Took me about two minutes.
For the first few episodes, I wasn't sure what to think. I'm a huge Dateline and 20/20 fan. I love watching a mystery unfold. But it seemed to me we were following the story of a guy who was rightly convicted of a crime he committed. Not very riveting entertainment. As I kept listening, though, the story drew me in. Maybe it wasn't such a cut-and-dried case, after all...
As I near the end of this series, though, I get it. It isn't that this particular story is all that riveting. It's the fact that the producers allowed us to follow along on the journey as it unfolded. The story was originally aired in real-time, as Sarah Koenig investigated it. How often does that happen?
But most of all, what sets Serial apart is that it's a unique kind of podcast. It tells a story in a unique way. We need many, many, many more podcasts like that! Plus...as a result of the series' success, the Maryland Court of Appeals is taking another look at the case.
Have you ever listened to a podcast?