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“Serial”: It’s baaack (soon)

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Peabody-winning podcast Serial is set to return this fall with a second season. Then, a third in spring, 2016.

The announcement, nowhere to be found on the Serial website, was emailed to subscribers. The producers are not disclosing what the new seasons will be about, but the popular show will resume its long-form investigative format. “We are hard at work reporting not one, but two distinct new stories,” the announcement said.

The show’s division into seasons is an unusual aspect — most podcasts run with an ongoing list of numbered shows. Serial is more like a Ken Burns documentary that explores one topic across a finite number of episodes.

Serial is produced by This American Life, a public radio show (WBEZ, Chicago) whose archived Internet distribution regularly ranks as the top podcast in iTunes. Cross-promotion certainly helped the Internet-only Serial, which charted an unprecedented march to five-million listens in iTunes faster than any other podcast. Its popularity threw publicity on the podcast category, exciting producer and advertiser interest.

Edison Research found that podcasting listening has grown to 335 of the American adult and teen population, approximately 83-million people. Podcast listeners over-index in time spent with the category, compared to music listeners.

Brad Hill

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