Much like how the growth of Netflix led to cultural phenomenon of binge watching TV shows (Lost, Breaking Bad, 24, Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards, etc.), the massive popularity of a 2014 podcast named "Serial" has led to the new trend of binge listening. Many people who had never even heard a podcast before (podcasts are like radio on-demand) heard about the show in the news and became enthralled with it. Although it was released one episode a week (hence the name "Serial") and hundreds of thousands of listeners breathlessly awaited the release of each new episode, many other listeners arrive late to the party, clicked on the first episode, and became addicted. They were then able to listen to all the episodes at once.
Serial is from the creators of the hit public radio show This American Life and is hosted by producer Sarah Koenig. It investigates the real life 1999 disappearance of high school senior Hae Min Lee, and the arrest of her classmate and ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, who claims he is innocent, for her murder.
And now, we present, Serial
If you have finished consuming Serial and are hungry for more podcasts to binge on, here's a list for you:
- This American Life - Since 1995, this award winning non-fiction public radio show produced by Ira Glass has explored weekly themes in a journalistic way.
- RadioLab - A public radio show about curiosity. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich use mind-bending story-telling and a sense of humor to ask big questions and blur the boundaries between science, philosophy, and human experience.
- StoryCorps - A nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.
- The Sporkful - An award-nominated food podcast, which "...isn't for foodies, it's for eaters". Each episode covers a very specific issue, whether it's the ideal shape for tortilla chips, best practices in butter-to-pancake application, or barriers to structural integrity in sandwich engineering.
- Freakonomics - An offshoot of the best selling book by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, about "the hidden side of everything" (cheating teachers, bizarre baby names, self-dealing Realtors, etc.)
- NPR: Snap Judgment Podcast - Executive produced by Glynn Washington, features people telling their stories, focusing on crucial life decisions. It has rich audio production, with constant background music and sound effects.
- Unfictional - A weekly program of real-life unusual stories and interesting personal documentaries, hosted and produced by Bob Carlson.
- Why You're Wrong - Topics such as Why you shouldn’t be afraid of sharks?, Does chicken soup work as a cold remedy?, and Why don't hugely successful movies make money?
- Planet Money - Interesting true stories relating to money.
Bonus Sites To Look At:
- Old Time Radio Shows - While not technically podcasts, this site offers over 25,000 free episodes from hundreds of radio shows from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s: Sherlock Holmes, Gunsmoke, Burns & Allen, Dick Tracy, Tarzan, Philip Marlowe and more.
- The Memory Palace - A historical trivia podcast hosted by Nate DiMeo. Topics include: serial imposter Stanley Clifford Weyman, PT Barnum's "Natural Curiosity", the Mad Gasser and mass hysteria, Halley's Comet, and more.
- Knifepoint Horror - From author Soren Narnia. Tales of supernatural suspense with a single human voice describing events exactly as it experienced them.
- Wiretap - Each week Jonathan Goldstein invites you to eavesdrop on a mix of funny, thoughtful and unpredictable stories and conversations.
- Stuff You Should Know - A podcast from the site HowStuffWorks.com, explaining a wide range of topics such as How Fire Breathing Works, What’s The Deal With Crop Circles?, and How Temper Tantrums Work.
- Thinking Sideways - Investigating the things "we simply don't have answers to", such as real-life murders and missing person cases.
- NPR: TED Radio Hour Podcast - A journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Hosted by Guy Raz and based on talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage about topics such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections, and injects soundscapes and conversations that bring these ideas to life.
- StartUp - Similar in style to the serialized nature of Serial, StartUp is an offshoot of This American Life, hosted This American Life reporter Alex Blumberg, and follows his adventures as he starts his own podcasting business.