Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A New Kind of Podcast

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?

56 comments:

  1. Sorry, I've never heard of it and I don't listen to podcasts. There was a sports show I listened to, but it was more of a radio broadcast. Just never got into podcasts.

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    1. I never did, either--until this one. I have a feeling it was the same for most of the people who were drawn into it! Maybe it will drive a trend toward more interesting, inventive podcasts.

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  2. I think because I'm such a visual learner, podcasts would not be my thing. Don't a number of reality 'stars' have podcasts?

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    1. Oh lordy, I'm sure they do. And I'm sure they have SO many interesting things to say. (Can you sense the sarcasm there? :-) )

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  3. Nope, ain't nobody got the time for podcasts :) I can barely listen to the voices in my head let alone listening to other people's voices too!

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    1. LOL, but audiobooks and podcasts drown out those voices!

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  4. First I've heard of it. Don't think I have time for podcasts though, as they never really draw me in.

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  5. No podcasts for me. I've got little ears hanging around. I'm thinking that will be another phase of life.

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    1. Yes, I mostly listen while cleaning house or driving...but when you have kids around, I guess you can't really do that.

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  6. My husband listens to podcasts of some radio shows he likes - he can listen when it's most convenient for him.

    When I listen to anything like audio books, anything I'm trying to follow and understand, I can't multi-task. I have to concentrate. I think it's because I'm more of a visual person when taking things in.

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    1. I'm visual, too...but audiobooks somehow get me through mundane tasks like laundry! I find myself paying more attention to what I'm listening to than what I'm doing. Fiction is tough on audio...it's easy for your mind to drift unless the story is REALLY good. But non-fiction like Serial or a celebrity biography is much easier, especially if it's an interesting one.

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  7. This sounds interesting! I don't listen to Podcasts. I think I just don't have time for them, LOL. Plus I think my ears might get tired since I'm listening to doctors all day at work through ear phones as I type their reports :) Got to give those ears a rest :)

    betty

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  8. I've heard the word podcasts, and that's the extent of my knowledge. I don't have an iPhone. My cell is the simplest I could find. My iPad does a lot of things, but I have no clue what. I use it for reading. I still live in the dark ages. :)
    Great post.

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    1. Yeah, I don't think you'd want to deal with a podcast on a phone than a big tablet!

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  9. I've tried to listen to podcasts, but like you they don't hold my attention for long. I don't have an iPhone either. Sounds like this one almost didn't make it for you either. I'm not familiar with this podcast or case.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I'm on episode 10 and she's losing me again. She had me for a while there...8 and 9 were great! Blah blah blah. There are enough questions, though, that this case probably should be reopened. I hate to know that innocent people are serving time for crimes they didn't commit and in this case, there was zero proof he did it.

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  10. I have never listened to a podcast and am even unsure what a podcast is. I have heard of the term but since I live under a rock when it comes to all things technology, I am very way behind.

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    1. It's like a radio talk show, but you can download it to your phone and listen to it when you want, rather than being at the mercy of the radio station.

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  11. admittedly I've never gotten through a full podcast! I think I just haven't found the right one for me. Because the idea is pretty great. I've heard SO much about Serial!

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    1. I think if you're going to give one a try, this one should be it. There are some others I've found that are said to be in the "if you like Serial, you'll love this podcast" category, so I may try them, as well. It's either that or pay $16 to download a book to get me through the rest of the month!

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  12. no, i haven't. glad you enjoyed this one, though.

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  13. I would be curious to listen, but I'm so cautious anymore because I caught Verizon sneaking in data charges that I didn't agree with and it's just one more thing I feel like will bite me and my data plan for my phone. I cannot afford to become addicted to anything cloud related! lol

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    1. That sucks! I mostly listen at home, but I am using data when I'm listening in the car. I need to watch that.

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  14. I never have, although I've had several recommended to me (Serial being one of them). I've never been able to concentrate when people read aloud to me, though, so I fear podcasts and audio books might never work for me.

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    1. It's tough...although when you're looking for an escape from housework, it's nice to be read to!

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  15. I've listened to a few podcasts. Mostly Writing Excuses with Brandon Sanderson. Another one I like is Grammar Girl. But I don't listen all that often. :)

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  16. Quite alot, usually when going to and from work and at the gym. Science, world of warcraft, health and training, free thinkers...

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    1. Yes, it definitely makes workouts more interesting.

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  17. Podcasts have never been on my radar - until now. I'm a fan of Dateline and similar programs; I love a true crime expose. This sounds great. What is the name of your app that you mentioned?

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    1. If you have an iPhone with one of the last couple of operating systems, it should be on there already. It's just called "Podcasts." If not, it's in the iTunes store.

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  18. I have not listened to a podcast. I need to though! I imagine I'd enjoy them.

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    1. I'm enjoying this one. Not sure if it's a thing I'll do after this, though. We'll see...

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  19. Add me to the list of those who have not played.

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  20. I used to be an avid listener of podcasts. If it wasn't a podcast rehashing reality TV shows, it was a podcast dedicated to some interesting television programs. I.E. Lost Probably my favourite podcast for a long time, was this British guy who was a scam-baiter. He'd contact people who tried to scam him via emails. You know, the Prince of Nigeria type of emails? He'd get their phone number then call and pretend he was interested in them for a short while till he suddenly exposed them live on the podcast. It was hilarious because sometimes these scammers were so desperate and thought they really had someone who was going to be scammed, they'd almost always do whatever he suggested them to do. Like ask them to sing a song for him. After they did whatever he suggested was when he'd expose them. It was lots of fun.
    PS - I hope you don't mind, I nominated you as a creative blogger. I posted some details on my latest blog post.

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    1. I probably should get some good podcasts from you. I have no idea where other good ones are. Thank you for the nomination! I'll check it out.

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    2. It all depends on your interest. You are certain to find some podcast that interests you. Most of my podcasts I find in the Itunes store. And most are free, so dont let that scare you off.

      To be honest, I was very tempted to do a podcast a few years back. But I had no time to produce something myself so I never did.

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  21. I have never listened to a podcast... I really like those types of shows too... mainstream TV bores me... I will have to check it out xox

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  22. Like you I never got into podcasts because of all the hassles. I guess I will have to check it out again! Thanks.

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  23. I haven't yet, but one of my superhero students recommended it to me. She says it is one of the best listens on the Web.

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  24. I've really enjoyed Serial! Such an interesting case. And I also download NPR shows quite a bit and enjoy them a ton. Wait, Wait..., and Science Friday fill me with geeky good humor ;)

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  25. I'm too techy challenged to do podcast....yet.

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  26. I don't do podcasts, mostly because I don't just listen to much, but I had heard all about Serial. It's not my sort of thing, but I know many people who do like that sort of story, so I understand how it got huge.

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  27. Serial is the only podcast that I've listened to start to finish. Mostly I thought it was pretty gripping and I am SO glad to hear that the court of appeals is taking a closer look at it. :-)

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  28. I've listened to lots of podcasts--comedy, travel, sermons, political satire, etc--but mostly while working out in the gym

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  29. I keep meaning to investigate this whole podcast business, but I've yet to do it. I did listen to one of Marc Maron's shows briefly. but I never went back to it. "Serial" sounds pretty interesting.

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  30. I've never listened to podcasts. They might be good, but they're just another thing to suck up my time.

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  31. Have a good evening, Steph.

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  32. Wife and daughter are both fans of Welcome to Nightvale. We even went to a live performance in Montreal. Good stuff.

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  33. You definitely piqued my interest! I have an app I can use to listen to audio through my car speakers, so I'll check it out and let you know!

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  34. I've never tried listening to a fiction podcast. I listen to non-fiction podcasts, mainly about writing and marketing books, but I've never tried listening to audio fiction. I have heard of Serial before though, it does sound like a fantastic concept. Maybe I'll give it a try rather than the music I listen to when I walk.

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  35. I love Serial!

    I listen to a few podcasts on occasion. Nothing with any sort of regularity. One of my favorites is called Things You Didn't Learn in History Class. It's not a story like Serial, but it's full of really interesting things that I really never did learn in history class.

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