Do you miss the old radio dramas? You could listen as you did other things: get dressed in the morning, empty the dishwasher, wash the car, whatever. But the dramas disappeared as radio became directed at the workday commuters, a captive audience trapped in their cars to be fed an unending stream of commercials interspersed with spot news items or meaningless chatter—anything short because the listener could arrive at their destination at any moment. No one sits down and devotes an entire half-hour to radio listening anymore.
But now you can. There is a radio (now a synonym for “audio only”) serial called, appropriately, Serial, that is podcast on serialpodcast.org It has become the most popular podcast in the world. Since it is accessed on your computer or smartphone, there are no interrupting commercials and you can tune in anytime. If you go to their website for the first time, you will be directed to the first episode and you can take it from there. They initially broadcast a new episode every Thursday, but the series of 12 episodes is now complete. You can download any episode so you can listen away from a Wi-Fi connection. The website has a nice little video describing exactly how a podcast works (slightly condescending) and is worth visiting just for that. A new, different serial will begin sometime in 2015.
The serial is a mystery about the murder of a female Korean honor student, Hae Min Lee. Her boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was wrongly convicted of the crime and the story is about finding the real culprit. Change the names, and it could be a story line we listened to in the 1940s.
I have found one problem, and it is me. I seem to have lost my ability to concentrate on just audio without simultaneously watching a video. Listening to a radio drama again is like a new experience, and I have to retrain myself for something that once seemed so natural. But I am working on that, and I can see improvement already. I back up the audio to replay when I have lost my concentration, and these occurrences are becoming fewer.