I’ve been away for a bit and was so excited to pop into my Google News Alerts and see that our long, national nightmare of podcast drought seems to be ending. Suddenly, they’re everywhere again and I’m excited for what this new crop promises. Today, we’re going to take a dive into some of the newest potential obsessions and commute comfort foods of the audio world:
For fans of cold cases, check out the brand-new monthly podcast Gone Cold, which will take an in-depth look at a new crime each broadcast and focusing, for now at least, on Philly-area cases.
When This American Life took a look at a 1980 case of wrongful conviction, few might have expected it to make the leap from pod to theaters, but Crown Heights was a hit at Sundance and earned a wider release. This true story examines the failures of the justice system and the amateurs who took it on and ultimately won. While you’re waiting for it to make it to a screen near you, the “DIY” episode above is a wonderful place to start.
Perennial favorite True Crime Garage recently looked at the case of Mia Zapata over the course of two episodes. You have likely heard of the case of the 1993 rape and murder of Zapata, who fronted the Seattle punk band The Gits. I know I first heard about it as a kid watching a rerun of Unsolved Mysteries (it’s streaming on multiple services and if you’re interested, the episode is Season 8, Episode 13). The case languished for years until DNA finally led to Zapata’s killer. There’s even a Joan Jet connection.
Small Town Dicks is a brand-new approach to the true crime podcast genre, with two current police detectives who anonymously share fascinating stories from their respective small-town departments. The first three episodes of this season’s expected 13-show run are currently available, with more to be released weekly. The show, which will focus on a different small town each season, is hosted by friends Zibby Allen and Yeardley Smith. If the latter name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it scroll past your eyes hundreds of times in The Simpsons end credits. Yep, your podcast host is essentially Lisa Simpson.
Do you have a long commute? A boring job? Do you need podcast quantity? At 80 episodes and counting, The Vanished Podcast has a lot to offer, particularly if you’re fascinated by missing person cases. Rather than take the longform approach many pods have been moving toward, this one focuses solely on a single case per episode.
If you’re interested in the story behind the story (or have a podcast in mind you’d like to make), read up on how the people behind the Aussie podcast Trace reported, wrote, and produced the story of the 37-year old unsolved murder of Maria James. Still interested? Check out how they did. And if you’re interested in production or music, you’ll want to read this Los Angeles Times piece on crime podcast scoring.
That’s it for now, though I’ll continue to pass on the latest podcast info as I hear it. Check this space for the next two weeks as we take a closer look at what’s ahead for true crime across all media. Next up? Film. See you Thursday.
Featured Image: Crown Heights, Amazon Studios/IFC Films
Edited for content September 7. An earlier version of this story incorrectly cited Yeardley Smith as the voice of Bart Simpson. She is the voice of Lisa Simpson.