As far as pop culture phenomenons go, Serial is up there. The podcast, centered around the 1999 Baltimore murder of a high school student, came out of nowhere to become one of the most-talked about stories of the year. In the process, it boosted the medium of podcasting to never-before-seen heights and generated no shortage of debate about the intersection of journalism and entertainment.
Edison Research noted that podcasts claimed 1.7% of Americans’ overall audio listening, well behind radio, which holds a whopping 52%. People that do listen to podcasts, however, tend to spend more than a quarter of their audio time with the medium. Put another way, podcast listeners might be a small group, but they are fervent consumers. This makes Serial’s ability to break outside the podcast bubble an important moment.