While I was enveloped in all things writing (and arguing about writing) during my undergrad, I found myself loving radio. Though having a radio show is different from a podcast, there was a sense of comfort in sitting in the small studio, my laptop promptly put onto the table, and random guests across from me, chatting the hours away in between the music. Though those days are gone, at least for a few years now, there is such a sense of joy and intrigue in focusing solely on someone’s voice. They become a character or the content presented becomes something you follow. I had never felt that way about podcasts, mainly because my first encounter with them online was hardly anything I am willing to admit (think trashy, mind-numbing gossip podcasts or, yes, I’ll admit it, Twilight podcasts). To a point, I stopped bothering beyond educational podcasts/lectures and NPR. However, I was introduced to a new podcast, one that I obsessively listened to in a short period of time, despite it being a 12-episode series. The podcast was Serial, a spin off to This American Life. Unlike the usual series (and soon after I began to listening to This American Life), each episode hosted by Sarah Koenig provides the next chapter of the story of a real-life case involving a murder of a young girl (Hae) and her ex-boyfriend (Adnan), who has been pleading his innocence since 1999 when the murder occurred, when the two were in high school. Koenig, who spent about a year on the case, picked apart every bit in an attempt to paint a picture of the two sides of the story; one side showing the doubt in the convicted killer’s guilt and the other pointing in his direction. There’s one major problem. Adnan isn’t entirely sure when he was when Hae died. The beginning is intriguing because Koenig asks her nephew (Sam) a simple question on where he was on a particular day. The result was several answers, then assurance he knew where he was. After speaking with Sam’s friends, there were different answers, making the point that was apparent in Adnan’s case, that asking a teenage where they were several weeks after a murder may result in not knowing.
So I will ask this question to any reader (feel free to answer). Without using any social media websites or your phone (think, it’s ‘1999’ in this article…which also means I’m a teenager writing this, lol), where were you 16 days ago at 4:57 or, for that matter, 6 weeks ago on a Tuesday at 6:52? How good can one’s memory be when you are simply doing nothing? This point is made in the beginning of the first episode as it sifts through every possible witness, the validity of the witnesses and evidence, how this young girl was killed, the suspects, and soon the conviction of a young man who is in the series as well.
If, for any reason, you are not into the whole ‘who did it’ crime podcast, This American Life has so much to offer. After listening to four or five podcasts today (yeah, you read that right), there are two I am recommending and posting below along with the serial podcast. I dare you to go beyond watching TV, beyond giving a status update or paying Trivia Crack (or whatever game is popular right now) and step into the realm of podcast listening.
Episode: It’s Never Over
Content: Several stories in this hour podcast containing the memories of the bullied, Life Without Leann and the story of a woman who buys a house that comes with a guest and rift through the years when he remains alive.
Episode: Secret Identity
Content: Paul Bunyan, a tiger mascot and persons struggling with a rare Delusional Disorder.
Serial Podcast: Season 1