Serial: Different To Other Podcasts?

Serial listeners will understand.

Not cereal listeners.


It's a podcast.  With twelve episodes.

It's not a podcast designed to give you the luxury of 'Listening Again' in a catchup kind of way.  And it doesn't rely on a big comedy personality to draw a crowd.  No.

Serial is presented by journalist Sarah Koenig

It's a podcast in its own right.  It stands alone.  On its own merit. Letting the content drive its appeal. And that's what, perhaps, makes it different from the general offerings we've been used to in the past.

Over the last eleven years there have been plenty of examples of Podcasts standing alone without needing to be complementary to a more established conduit of entertainment, information or personality.  Certainly in the early days you couldn't move for podcasts of varying quality - from low in production and high in passion to those podcasts lifted almost directly from an established radio channel.

Serial is a well presented real-life tale of love, anger, betrayal, innocence, mystery and suspense.  The potential injustice is too tempting to speculate upon.

So why is Serial different?

We hear the convicted maintain he didn't kill Hae Min Lee
Well, in so many ways it isn't different. It uses an RSS feed to deliver an mp3 file to subscribers interested in the episodes.  It has a web site where episodes and show notes are hosted.  It's free and is easy to download.  What DOES make it different and helps it stand out from the crowd is that it has a parent podcast with its own already-established following and radio play - I'm referring to This American Life.  But that's not all.

If you like the sort of radio documentary that, say, Jon Ronson is famous for on BBC Radio 4 then you're going to like This American Life.

Yes there's immediate audience potential with those listeners but what really makes it special?  Content, of course is king.

The team behind Serial
It's an engaging and addictive whodunnit delivered via the real voices of court witnesses, the accused [now the convicted via telephone from Prison], the police, the lawyers and the family members.  And not just through interviews after the events, no, Serial uses original recordings from Police interviews and court sessions.  And of course it's well written and well paced, delivered in a very personable style that seems to hear-easy with all English-speaking cultures.

In short: it has an audience, addictive well-delivered content and it is easily obtainable.

A blend of qualities that makes it stand out from most other podcasts, yes. Maybe that's why it feels different.

Find out for yourself here: