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Nov. 2, 2015, 1:19 p.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: blog.pandora.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   November 2, 2015

The anticipation building up around the release of the second season of Serial is about to boil over. Today’s news that Pandora will be an “exclusive streaming partner” for season two of the podcast that helped the medium achieve much wider recognition set off some serious confusion among those eagerly awaiting any scrap of news about when the season will launch.

According to Pandora’s press release, the music streaming service will make episodes of season two available on its own platform Thursdays at 6:00 a.m. EST — the same time Serial will also be making the podcasts available on its own feed, which flows into iTunes and other podcast apps. All of season one will be available on Pandora starting November 24, and This American Life will also stream on Pandora in early 2016.

But the earliest stories and tweets about the news weren’t clear that Serial wasn’t launching exclusively on Pandora. (“Exclusive streaming partner” here means roughly that it won’t be on Spotify or other direct Pandora competitors.) AP has since issued a correction about it. But while the correction was in the works, Serial’s new community editor Kristen Taylor spent the morning setting the record straight, starting first with news outlets and reassuring the many people who were angry or worried they would have to use Pandora — which is not available in some countries — to listen to Serial.

“The whole goal of the partnership [with Pandora] was to expand our audience,” Taylor said. “But there was a lot of confusion about how you can listen to a podcast, and it was a little bit difficult to make it clear, especially to people who don’t really listen to podcasts.”

A few weeks ago Serial joined Vine and set off another little flurry of excitement over the impending launch of season two. (Just “housekeeping,” Taylor clarified.)

“This is what happens when you have a very savvy audience who see everything, and they want to know what everything means,” Taylor said. But she added that Serial is looking to do much more with different social platforms. It’s brought a web editor onto its team and is planning to publish more exclusive content to its own website. And a big part of the Pandora deal is simply reaching new audiences, especially those who may never have heard of podcasts.

Taylor says she’s drawn up an editorial calendar for content for all the places Serial will be publishing information, whether it’s the usual places like Facebook or Twitter, or Snapchat or Vine or Instagram. She’s not quite sure yet how much of a presence Serial will be on these platforms and how to, say, tailor audio for platforms that are meant for images and video.

“The team wasn’t able to do a whole lot on social last time partly, because they were only a few people,” Taylor said. “My role is social and partnerships, trying to look at what the audience wants and needs, and trying to look at where they are.”

As for when the new season is launching, Taylor is staying mum.

“I know this is not the season two news that everyone wanted, but it’s big for us, because we want to expand our audience, we want to find more new listeners who are excited about us,” she said. “It’s hard to keep saying the same thing over and over, that the season is coming, but I can promise you it’s going to be a really great season.”

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