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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Podcast to pick up after ‘Serial’


    Have you been stalking Google Maps, looking for clues in Leakin Park? Do thoughts of the Nisha call wake you up at night in a cold sweat? Have you asked your local Best Buy if they had a pay phone in 1999?

    In October 2014, “Serial” reinvigorated the true crime genre by introducing us to the murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee and her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, who was convicted of her murder. “Serial” also introduced most of the world to podcasting, a digital medium that usually consists of recorded audio ranging from 10 minutes to an hour. Podcasts can come in a variety of formats and range in production quality from hobby project to professionally produced. While there will be a season two of “Serial” sometime in 2015, creator Sarah Koenig has been tightlipped about when. While you wait, here are some podcasts to fill the “Serial”-sized hole in your phone.

    “Criminal” is a true crime podcast that tells the stories of life on the other side of the law and the people whose lives are intertwined with it. With non-fiction stories ranging from allegedly murderous owls to an underground Venus flytrap kidnapping ring, you never know what to expect from “Criminal.“ Unlike “Serial,” “Criminal” does not often try to recreate a crime or follow the loose ends in a cold case. Episodes are more likely to examine how the media affects victims of crime, like in episode six, or how segregation affected criminal investigations in episode eight. Host Phoebe Judge and the team behind “Criminal” are all full-time radio professionals, which becomes apparent when listening to the podcast. The interviews are emotional, and the editing sets a clear tone for each installment. Unfortunately, due to the hobby project nature of “Criminal,” new episodes are released approximately once a month. As an introduction to “Criminal,” I recommend listening to episode five, “Dropping like Flies,” the story of the underground Venus flytrap market.

    “This American Life”

    “This American Life” is a weekly radio program broadcast all across the country and one of the most successful podcasts in the nerdy history of podcasts. Hosted by radio royalty Ira Glass, each hour-long show is divided into different fiction or nonfiction acts based on a theme. “This American Life” has covered everything from babysitting (episode 175) to bank regulation (episode 536), and the stories it tells are often as humorous as they are emotional. The show has been so successful that it was adapted for television in 2006, has had numerous live stage shows and has led to its own spinoff podcast, the aforementioned “Serial.” “This American Life” started as a radio program in 1995 and began offering its show as a free podcast in 2006. Unlike other podcasts, “This American Life”’s older episodes are not free to download, but the entire archive is free to listen to on its website. As an introduction to “This American Life,” I would recommend listening to episode 452, “Poultry Slam 2011,” which details the story of a wild turkey terrorizing a New England town, or episode 534, “A Not-So-Simple Majority,” which is an hour-long investigation into how one New York school district was taken over by a religious group. 

    If you are looking to jump on to the podcast bandwagon, most podcasts can be downloaded at no cost and played directly from your computer. IPhone owners can subscribe to podcasts from the iTunes store and new episodes will be automatically downloaded. Android users can choose from a variety of different podcasting apps, but I recommend Podcast Addict.


    Follow Partick O’Connor on Twitter.

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