After the breakout success of Serial, the “audio media space” industry (a mix of radio and podcast producers as The Hollywood Reporter describes it) is scrambling to satisfy a newly discovered audience for long form narrative storytelling.
Serial and Invisibilia, both hot properties on NPR (Invisibilia created a best seller of the book it’s based on), are examples of the new direction towards multi-part, lengthy, story-based nonfiction segments that hook listeners and supply them with episodic fixes similar to The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.
Second seasons of both shows are in the works but producers admit that finding follow-up topics is a challenge, “It’s uncharted territory. Invisibilia and Serial broke into new audiences and opened up the space a bit, but we’re making it up as we go.”
The shifting audio landscape may be a new challenge for producers, but many librarians have already figured out how to take advantage of the trend.
As we reported earlier, librarians have supported Serial with booklists. Others offer podcasts of library programs, such as those from the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Seattle Public Library, Libraries are also partnering with programs such as StoryCorps to help archive and build story collections.
The new attention to podcasts is an opportunity for storytelling librarians to reach out in new ways and for readers’ advisory and collection development librarians to expand their services. Let us know in the comments section what your library is doing.