This has been a great year (2014) for podcasts. A really great year. "Serial" blew everyone away with its 12-part investigation, PRX's podcast collective Radiotopia raised $620,000 in its kickstarter campaign, and articles in New York magazinethe New York Times and International Business Times hailed this as a golden age of podcasts.
“Did you listen to this week’s Serial?” That’s been the question on everyone’s lips the past three months. The podcast, which reexamined the 1999 murder case of a Baltimore teenager, become morning Gchat convo—and launched a thousand think pieces declaring 2014 “The Golden Age of Podcasts.”
While individual podcasts have previously broken through the cultural consciousness—like comedian Marc Maron’s WTF in 2009—the genre has generally been a niche interest since it hit iTunes in 2005. That year, there were only about 3,000 podcasts up and running. A decade later, that number has mushroomed to more than 285,000 podcasts, created in over 100 languages. The DIY radio of the Internet is now a bona fide medium, heard by an estimated 39 million Americans a month.
To celebrate the format’s true coming of age—it is indeed “golden”—our very own obsessive pod people are telling you what you must hear in the new year.