Nicholas Quah, writing for Vulture:
A lot has happened in the upper echelons of podcasting this year, and I’ve been tasked with assembling a list of the best shows released so far. In the spirit of acknowledging how bonkers this task is — finding the cream of the crop in an ecosystem as young, relatively decentralized, and maddeningly chaotic as podcasting — I’d like to share my thought process in putting together the list. As a critic, I’m looking for a very specific thing: shows that say something about the medium, push the form forward, and exemplify the best qualities of what podcasts can do. Craft is a little more important to me than the stories themselves, which comes from a more general belief that as important as certain stories are, it’s even more important that they be told well. I’m also valuing podcasts that function well as stand-alone experiences, though I’m fully aware that puts comedy, conversational, and “after-show” programming at a disadvantage. Of course, this also means that more established shows have the additional burden of being ranked against themselves. And finally, all of this is couched within the tastes and preferences of myself, a lowly mortal human.
Alright, enough throat-clearing. Let’s jump in.
Not a single one makes my list, but that’s unsurprising. I like his emphasis on the craft of a podcast and meta-analysis of what pushes the medium forward.
It’s fascinating to see a list of podcasts on Vulture, a clear sign that Serial catapulted podcasting into the public eye. Curious, I clicked to see what the oldest Vulture piece is with the “Podcasts” tag, and it dates all the way to the end of 2007. But there wasn’t another until 2010—one article (!)—and then two in 2011, four in 2012, and six in 2013. Serial was announced in the middle of 2014, launched in the fall, and since there have been a whopping 147 Vulture pieces about podcasts.
In short, it only took ten years for podcasting to catch on.