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Serial

Radio Renaissance

08 Mar 2015
Posted by Shannon

I’ve long said that radio podcasting is journalism’s future and I’m happy to note that my crystal ball is in good working order. (No, I don’t want to talk about all the times it was wrong.) 

As predicted, Serial turned out to be the podcast to change podcasts, mixing fine narrative journalism with true crime reporting. But Serial is just the podcast with the widest reach. I did a piece for Swerve magazine last month discussing the boom in professional, broadcast quality podcasts, which includes many former American public radio reporters expanding into the private podcasting business.

There’s the delightful Start-up, produced by former This American Life-er Alex Blumberg who regales us with tales of his missteps launching a for-profit podcasting company. And I’ve become quite fond of The Bittersweet Life, conversations between a pair of American women in their 30s living the ex-pat life in Rome. I also recommend Criminal, a side project of a trio of radio reporters who cover the crime beat. They cover weird true crime stories and other eccentric things. I wrote about the episode on how to spot liars and I recommend it, but I think my favourite episode is the one about the elderly Raymond Chandler fans who celebrate their own love by reuniting the ashes of the mystery writer and his beloved wife. It manages to be both weird and romantic. (You can find all these podcasts in iTunes too.) 

So while I’ve been writing about matchmaking gone wrong, and the measles outbreak being good for the body politic if not the actual bodies, the only thing I really, really want to talk about is the radio renaissance. I think it’s the most interesting thing to happen in entertainment since the arrival of broadband and Web 2.0 which, come to think of it, looked an awful lot like the original radio boom of the 1920s. ~ END~

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