Lazy Media Helps Push Already Popular Podcast to Download Record

It's no surprise that the highly anticipated follow up to SerialS-Town has topped the charts and has busted a download record for podcasts.  

"Episodes of “S-Town,” the new Southern Gothic- esque investigative-journalism podcast from the creative team behind 2014 breakout hit “Serial,” have been downloaded more than 10 million in the first four days of its release — setting a new record in the podcasting world."

My hats off to them, that is an impressive feat and the team over at Serial Productions is very deserving of this accolade.  It's also great press for the podcasting industry and hopefully, continues to raise awareness for the space. 

However, it's also not surprising that they were able to accomplish this.  As content curator for podtopod, it is my job to review headlines in the podcasting space on a somewhat daily basis.  For the last two weeks, I would venture to say that 3 out of every 4 podcast stories I saw had to do with the release of this show or tidbits about this Alabama town. 

The team over at S-Town did an excellent job with their marketing efforts and had an excellent release strategy. But they also had a ton of help from the press.  Don't get me wrong, there are media outlets that understand podcasting and were going to cover this because of the fame of Serial.  However, there also seemed to be a number of news outlets that have no clue about the true depths and breadth of podcasting.  They simply saw S-Town in trending stories on social media and jumped at the low hanging fruit.  

I know some are reading this and thinking, "oh great, another S-Town hater." Truth is, at the time of this rant, I had only listened to one episode.  (My wife and I actually want to listen together and we haven't had the opportunity). Frankly, I wasn't enamored with episode one.  I am not giving up on it but I am also not rearranging my life to get it done. But this isn't a review of S-Town. (Which I may do at some point)  This is simply a complaint about media coverage and the podcasting industry.   

It baffles me that so many news organizations, which should and could be taking advantage of podcasting, can't bother to really cover it.  Any media outlet that reviews movies, books, TV shows and music, should have a podcast review column.  Every outlet that covers the growing trend of cord cutters, car-sharing services, food delivery apps, and sex-centric dating apps, should also be taking note of all of the people that are electing for content-on-demand.  Maybe if they took a moment to check out the thousands of amazing programs being produced (that aren't Serial/S-Town, Pod Save America, WTF, and The Daily, most of which I do enjoy by the way) they could start to take advantage of the medium and not just cover it because it's beneficial clickbait on a slow news day. 

Until then, it's up to you. Talk to your friends and network and take a chance on a podcast that isn't in new & noteworthy, or covered ad nauseam by the mainstream news.  You'll probably like it...maybe even more than S-Town.