Can radio kill the TV star?
Though podcasts have enjoyed a pretty major amount of popularity over the past couple of years, there hasn’t really been one that has kept listeners hovering around their speakers week by week to find out what is going to happen next on a radio program. However, a new true crime podcast called Serial has managed to keep listeners yearning for a new episode of the show like it’s 1926 and the television hasn’t even been invented yet.
What is it about the show that proves to be so riveting? Here are some interesting facts about Serial that might compel you to hop on the bandwagon and take a listen with everyone else.
1. It’s a spinoff
Serial comes from the minds behind NPR favorite, This American Life. Longtime host and executive producer, Ira Glass, is involved behind the scenes.
2. The host is a seasoned journalist
The podcast is hosted by Sarah Koenig, who has served as a producer since 2004. Koenig, who is a Peabody Award-winning journalist, also served as a political reporter for the Baltimore Sun and the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, according to the This American Life website. She also lived in Russia for three years, working for ABC News and the New York Times.
3. The show is making podcast history
The show has already surpassed 5 million downloads and streams, and Apple says it broke the record for the fastest podcast to reach the milestone, according to the Guardian.
4. It’s designed to be listened to in order
Serial’s website advises that you start at Episode 1, otherwise you will be lost.
5. This season follows the murder of an 18-year-old girl and the arrest of her 17-year-old boyfriend
The murder occurred in 1999 and Koenig said in a recent interview with Stephen Colbert that she was contacted by a family friend of the accused boy, Adnan Syed. The friend informed Koenig that they felt Syed was innocent and implored her to look into holes in the investigation.
6. Syed’s family listens to the show
Syed’s brother, Yusuf Syed, admitted to CBS News that he and his mother listen to the show, according to Mashable. “Some days I’ll be like, ‘Oh this is a really great episode,’ some days I’ll just feel so down and depressed,” he said.
7. Production doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, either
Each episode seems to be a cliffhanger, but that’s for good reason. Koenig and her team put together the episodes as they come across information. “We’re reporting this story as we write it,” it says on the website. We’re still pinning down information, doing interviews, following leads. So when you listen each week, the truth is you’re actually not that far behind us.”
8. The internet is not happy about the season ending
It almost feels like Sarah Koenig enjoyed telling us that our lives would be over next week… @serial
— Hilary Milnes (@hilarymilnes) December 11, 2014
Oh man…. only one @serial left. WHY ARE YOU SUCH A CRUEL MISTRESS SARAH KOENIG WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
— Holli (@BeingHolli) December 11, 2014
Sarah Koenig just said the most painful words to my ears. "Next week on the final episode of @serial". Waiting a week is hard enough.
— Marconi (@marconibologna) December 11, 2014
NPR just told me I'm the murderer in the next "Serial" podcast.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) November 9, 2014
9. Stephen Colbert calls Koenig his favorite guest of all time
On a recent episode of The Colbert Report, Colbert referred to Koenig as the world’s first “superstar podcaster,” and the favorite guest comment is a bold statement, considering everyone who has been on his show.
10. Season 2 will happen and was funded by listeners
Just in case you get hooked, production has confirmed that there will be a second season of the wildly popular podcast. “Last week, we asked people who’ve been listening to Serial to chip in if they wanted a second season,” it says on the show’s website. “This American Life funded the bulk of Season One, but to make Serial ongoing, it needs to pay for itself. Today, we have good news: between the money you donated and sponsorship, we’ll be able to make a second season of Serial.”