I typed true crime podcast into Google. I got over 5 million results, and that number will only go higher in the future. The true crime podcast niche is alive and well, and there’s a huge demand for more. There’s no shortage of shows to listen to and more are coming!
Podcasts and podcasting is quite popular right now as it’s a relatively easy way to reach out to a broad audience with a message. Best of all, the people that you are reaching out to are wanting to hear what you have to say. There are podcasts about everything under the sun. If you want to talk about a subject, rest assured, somebody out there wants to hear about it. When it comes to the true crime genre, there’s plenty of podcasts to give true crime junkies their fix. Some podcasts feature a panel of hosts, a pair of hosts, or a single host. Some of these podcasts are well done and take a lot of work to produce. Some may not be as polished or well-made, but just about every show seems to have steady and loyal listeners. Every potential listener is a different person with a unique personality, so having variety when it comes to true crime podcasts is a good thing as there truly is something for everybody out there. Some people like their true crime delivered in a somber and professional manner while others like some laughs sprinkled into the show and even maybe a little wine or beer with their episodes.
I myself am working on a true crime podcast, and I’ll be a little fish in a big pond if I am ever ready to launch it. It’s exciting but a little scary too. Before making the plunge, I wanted to explore the true crime podcast phenomenon and see what was driving it and what it’s like behind the scenes. Who better to reach out to than some of my favorite podcasts? I’m not a partner of any of the shows listed below, and I’m not being paid to advertise for them. These are just a few of my personal favorite true crime podcasts. I reached out to them and they replied, and here’s the results.
Generation Why with Aaron & Justin:
Generation Why is the unquestioned veteran podcast on this list. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a guest on the Generation Why podcast not once, but twice to discuss the Zodiac Killer case. The Generation Why podcast seems to come up over and over on people’s favorite true crime podcasts lists. I can understand why. Aaron & Justin have been doing their show since 2012 and doing it well. They have a well- organized show and cover some great cases. In addition to the Zodiac case, Gen Why has covered the Texas killing fields, the Steven Avery case, and the Original Night Stalker. Although they aren’t exclusively a true crime podcast, it seems to be one of the most popular niches they cover. Aaron recently told me that one thing that the Gen Why listeners appreciate is that they research and delve deep enough into cases that they can have an informed discussion about the cases. It takes days, weeks even for Aaron and Justin to produce a show from start to finish and sometimes months of research. They are rewarded however with millions of downloads a month! That’s not a misprint, millions of downloads a month. That doesn’t happen by accident. They really have a great show. Despite the success, neither host is looking to quit their day job any time soon. Aaron and Justin will be attending Crimecon2017 in June and undoubtedly will be meeting many fans, myself included.
The Trail Went Cold with Robin Warder:
Launched in February,2016, The Trail Went Cold just celebrated it’s 1 year birthday. Hosted by Robin Warder, this is the only podcast on this list with a single host. The Trail Went Cold alternates between shorter ‘minisodes’ and full length episodes. Often drawing from cases on the much loved television show Unsolved Mysteries, Robin tells me that his audience can always expect a full recap of each case as well as a personal analysis from him. Robin has covered such Unsolved Mysteries favorites as the Dale Kerstetter missing persons case and the senseless and perplexing murder of Matt Flores. Robin views himself as a story teller. Some listeners may recognize Robin’s name from some of his writing having written articles for outlets such as Cracked and Listverse. The podcasting high point so far for Robin has been receiving a request to cover a case by the family member of a victim, as Robin put it, it really blew his mind. Robin thinks that the true crime podcast genre will continue to grow as there is no shortage of material and fresh cases. Personally I am in agreement with Robin on this.
True Crime All the Time with Mike Ferguson & Mike Gibson:
True Crime All the Time is the only podcast on the list to have two versions of the show, both ‘solved’ and ‘unsolved’ true crime episodes. That’s pretty ambitious of a podcast that’s only been out for about four months but so far, it’s paying off. Mike and Mike just celebrated their 1 millionth download a few weeks ago. Inspired by true crime shows like 48 Hours, 20/20, and Dateline, and podcasts like Serial, Mike and Mike spend 20-25 hours making each episode just right. Some of the cases that they have covered are the Oakland County child murders, the legendary DB Cooper, and the infamous BTK serial killer. One of the best parts of the podcast experience so far has been their interaction with fans of the show. Again, True Crime All the Time offers you both solved and unsolved episodes, so whatever you’re into, they probably will discuss something that interests you. This is one of my favorite up and coming shows definitely worth checking out.
Wine and Crime with Amanda, Kenyon, and Lucy:
Wine and Crime is the baby podcast on this list with just two months of shows under their belts. If you like some laughs and occasional curse words mixed in with your true crime, then this show might be for you. The show’s tag line is “3 friends chug wine, chat true crime, and unleash their worst Minnesotan accents” and the results are truly entertaining. I personally take my true crime pretty seriously, but it’s hard not to laugh with Amanda, Kenyon, and Lucy as they dive into topics like Necrophilia and peeping Toms. The subject matter is dark, but the jokes and laughs are plentiful. Despite their lighthearted approach to true crime, they extensively research for each show topic. The ladies all are huge true crime podcast fans and it would be a dream come true if they could work on their podcast full time. So far, Wine and Crime is generating 1500 plays per episode and they have plans to potentially do two shows per week. This show is getting a lot of buzz on social media and many of their fans have reviewed the show commenting that listening to the show is like hanging out with best friends, and as the hosts told me, that’s the biggest compliment that they could receive.
So, we’ve covered some podcasts, but what about the listeners? You can’t have podcasts without the fans that download the episodes and help spread the word about their favorite podcasts. With that being said, I reached out to some die hard true crime podcast fans to get their take on things.
Jorden is a fan that listens regularly to 35 different podcasts and she averages between three to five hours of podcasts a day. Jorden isn’t afraid to hear the more gruesome or morbid podcasts and as she puts it, “murderers and serial killers are some of the most terrifying people in our society, but they are also some of the most interesting”
Another true crime podcast fan I reached out to was a Twitter user that goes by PodTeen. If anybody knows podcasts, it’s her. I can’t count how many true crime podcast recommendations I’ve seen her make on Twitter. She thinks that true crime podcasts are so popular because people just love the mystery itself. She likes a podcast that’s not too serious all the time, and she’s always looking for more to listen to.
If you are looking to find a good podcast to listen to, you could wade thru hundreds just to find a few that fit your style and tastes. Some things to consider when looking for a show to tune into are subject matter, episode length, and overall reviews. Here’s a hint, some of the best shows have great word of mouth advertising. Then again some of the lesser known ones are good too and may be a good fit for you, so just like anything else, you’ll want to do some research.
If you are thinking about starting a true crime podcast, a couple things are fair to assume. First of all, you’re going to have a lot of company, and second of all, you’re probably going to have a lot of interest in your show even if not overnight.
One thing I’ve found in my research for this article is that most listeners to true crime podcasts don’t just listen to one show, they listen to several, and most true crime podcasters are listeners as well. This is one genre that is going strong, and if you’re a true crime junkie like myself, that’s good news.