This month’s “bingeable” list will feature different True Crime podcasts. The True Crime podcast genre has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years, due to the popularity of Netflix’s Making a Murderer, HBO’s The Jinx and of course, Serial. There are many different formats of True Crime podcasts – serialized, where one story is told week after week, or non-serialized, in which a new story (or even multiple stories) are told each episode. The style of the podcasts can also vary – some are more casual, where the host(s) will joke and chit-chat with each other, while other podcasts take a more serious tone, and leave the comedy out of the story-telling. It all depends on your personal preferences, and one format isn’t necessarily better than another. If you are new to podcasts, I would just recommend listening to different formats, so you can figure out which style you prefer the most.
Up & Vanished is a serialized investigative True Crime podcast by Payne Lindsey, about the cold case disappearance of Tara Grinstead. Grinstead disappeared from the small town of Ocilla, Georgia in 2005, where she was a popular high school teacher and beauty pageant coach. On the night prior to her disappearance, Grinstead visited a beauty pageant, then attended a friend’s barbeque – this would be the last time anyone saw her. After friends and family were unable to contact her on Monday and she didn’t show up at work, she was reported missing to police. Her car was also found unlocked in the driveway and her cell phone was found in her home, but her purse and keys were missing. There were no immediate signs of foul play. Over a decade this would become the largest case file in Georgia’s history, yet the case would remain unsolved. Many credit this podcast in generating leads and in 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was able to make arrests in the case.
Empire on Blood is a podcast by Panoply, and all the episodes were just released on March 28th. The podcast is hosted and narrated by award-winning Journalist Steve Fishman, a voracious storyteller. Empire on Blood tells the story of Cal Buari, a drug-dealer from the Bronx, sentenced to life in prison for a murder he claims he didn’t commit. The podcasts chronicles Cal’s journey to appeal his conviction and prove his innocence, as well as the budding relationship between host and subject.
Missing & Murdered is a podcast by CBC News, hosted by Connie Walker. Season one of the podcast covers the cold case murder of 24-year-old Alberta Williams, a girl who was found dead in 1989 along a highway in British Columbia. The killer was never caught and in 2015, the lead investigator on the case sent an email to CBC News identifying the killer, to spur interest in the case – the result is the eight-part podcast series, Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams? Season two of the podcast, Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo, was just released on March 13th and tells the story of a family searching for their sister, Cleo Nicotine Semaganis. Cleo was taken by child welfare workers in Canada in the 70’s, and adopted by a U.S. family. Cleo’s siblings have been told many different stories about what happened to their sister over the years, and searched for her to no avail. The podcast details their story, as well as their relentless search for answers.
Murder on the Space Coast is an award winning podcast by Florida Today, hosted by columnist John A. Torres. Season three of the podcast premiered March 15th and covers the unresolved disappearance of Florida firefighter and Mother, Brandy Hall, who vanished in 2006. The last time anyone reported seeing Hall was on the evening of August 17th, 2006, after she left her job as a volunteer firefighter. The next day, a large pick-up belonging to Hall was found at the bottom of a pond, but Hall’s body was never recovered. The first two seasons of this podcast are also very intriguing and worth a listen.
Crime Junkie is hosted by Ashley and Brit, two self-pronounced “Crime Junkies” fascinated by all things crime. Each episode they detail a different crime, either solved or unsolved. Ashley and Brit are childhood friends who have a lot of chemistry and banter; although I personally feel there is just enough of a back-and-forth to keep the tone respectful to victims, while also keeping things causal and fun. These ladies also know their stuff and every case they cover is very well-researched.
The good thing about the True Crime genre of podcasting is that there is seemingly a show for everyone. Whether you like a mix of Comedy and True Crime, or you prefer more serious shows where they just present the facts, there is no doubt you will find one that you like. There is also no shortage of entertainment material, since new true crime podcasts seem to sprout almost weekly. To find new podcasts, I often browse the main page of my podcast app, where there are different categories, such as “top podcasts,” “trending podcasts,” etc. You can also ask around, as I find that even if people don’t seem to discuss podcasts as much as they do their latest Netflix binge, there is still probably somebody you know who listens to podcasts and can make good recommendations.
Author Bio: Lea Santilli graduated from Ohio State University with a B.A. in psychology. She currently resides in central Ohio. She’s a podcast fanatic, loves her corgi, Gracie, and cat, Atlas. You can find her via Facebook.