On This Day: “Serial” debuts, inaugurating the podcast boom

The podcast Serial, a spinoff of the long-running radio program This American Life, debuts on October 3, 2014, and quickly becomes a smash hit. 

Producer Sarah Koenig conceived of the show after she was approached by the attorney Rabia Chaudry, who asked Koenig to investigate the case of her friend, Adnan Syed. Syed was convicted in 1999 of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in Baltimore, but Chaudry believed that Syed was innocent and that his attorney had mishandled the case.

The 12-episode podcast, which details the case and Koenig’s attempts to investigate it, shattered records: Serial became the first podcast to reach five million downloads and the first to win a Peabody Award. The same year, media companies had found that podcasts could bring in high ad revenue; podcast listenership soon soared to higher-than-ever levels.

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Grayman Share
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