NPR’s Serial Podcast is getting a second season. This is in large part due to the many fan donations it received in previous weeks. With its popularity rising, a second season was almost inevitable for the podcast.
Serial is a popular podcast spinoff of This American Life created and funded by NPR. It is a weekly podcast, and much like its counterpart, This American Life, it follows one non-fiction story over the course of an entire season.
The popular podcast’s inaugural season, which launched in October, has focused on the 1999 death of a Baltimore teen, Hae Min Lee. The convicted murderer, Adnan Syed was Lee’s ex-boyfriend and is serving a prison sentence of 30 years to life for her murder. Syed claims someone else it to blame for her murder.
Every week on Thursday, the crime-driven podcast releases a new episode that digs deeper into the story. So far, there have been nine episodes, taking a break only for the Thanksgiving holiday. The podcast will return with a new podcast on December 4.
The purpose for a podcast like Serial is to uncover the more complicated story behind a case that is otherwise left out, never to be heard or seen. Sarah Koenig, the podcast’s host, has discovered a whole other aspect to this story. During each podcast, she exposes new information while investigating and questioning old evidence.
This American Life played a large role in funding the first season of Serial. However, in order for the podcast to continue, it would have to secure other funding. They reached out to the fans and received many generous donations and now the Serial podcast gets a second season. There is no official dollar amount associated with their funding, but they are still accepting donations.
Podcasts aren’t exactly a new animal in the world of technology, but the way they are accessed is much easier now than when they first entered the scene. New technology and the presence of smartphones have turned listening into a one-touch process, without the cutting and pasting of web addresses just to listen.
The concept of podcasts is not new. The 1980s saw the introduction of broadband internet and with it came “audio-blogging.” It wasn’t until the introduction of the iPod by Apple that podcasts really started to catch on with large audiences.
To date, Serial has 1.5 million listeners each week, and has seen nearly 5 million downloads from iTunes. Serial has gained so much popularity that it has spawned podcasts about the Serial podcast. Parodies of the popular podcast are also easy to find.
It is unclear how the first season will end, and Koenig is okay with that. In a recent interview with The New York Times, she talked about not needing to give it the perfect ending. She commented that she is a reporter and her responsibility lies with the facts and staying true to the case.
The Serial podcast getting a second season is big news for fans. The presence of public radio and NPR have played a large part in the success of the not-so-new genre of entertainment. A second season of the crime drama will only help increase the podcast’s popularity.
By Kerri Cushna
Photo by Grant Hutchinson – Flickr License