If you don’t have the time to read a 2,000+ word article on mysterious crimes or sift through the interwebs for interesting true stories, but enjoy the popular genre nonetheless, you are in LUCK. The [historically sparse] podcast network devoted to mystery and crime is currently brimming at the seams with captivating content.
In a technology-laden era, where media seems less interested in relaying important information and more focused on generating ad revenue, articles and news reporting often devolve into clickbait summaries bereft of intrigue, discussion, or transparency. In addition, modern-day reporting seems to sometimes suffer from a lack of content and original presentation.
But, never fear, podcasts are facilitating an all-together new way of telling stories, while also connecting creators with a busy, but intelligent and interested, mass of listeners.
A good podcast is comprised of personable hosts, fascinating guests, interesting information, and well-researched stories. Considering that the average American commute is approximately 26 minutes, listeners can easily catch the latest podcast episodes while simultaneously sitting in traffic. Or, while completing many other menial, but necessary, tasks in their hectic lives.
Podcasts are accessible via smartphone applications, such as Overcast, Pocket Casts, Castro, Spotify, and Deezer, but they can also be listened to directly from the internet. Ads are quick and skippable by pressing the +15 seconds button a couple of times (in stark contrast to traditional radio). And, podcast advertisements are usually tailored to audience interest, frequently offering convenient coupon codes and discounts.
During the month of March, an important [and fun] campaign “backed by 35 leading podcast publishers and headed up by NPR’s Israel Smith” has spread across social media encouraging the growth of the podcast industry. The #TryPod movement “[encourages] listeners to introduce a friend, relative or coworker to a new podcast, and, show them how to listen if they don’t know how.”
Podcast fans are also asked to share a list of their favorite podcasts using the hashtag #trypod.
Though this is not the usual True Noir mystery, we couldn’t resist the temptation to join in. Detailed below are True Noir’s most highly recommended podcasts. Also, accompanying each recommendation is a well-done and interesting episode to check out if you’re interested.
So, whether you brave an endless commute everyday or just enjoy falling asleep at night to the sounds of true crime and creepy mysteries, you’ll be audio binging for weeks!!
Focused on stories from Philadelphia, witty host and creator, Deana Marie, shares “more mischief, mayhem and nefarious goings on in the city of Brotherly Love than Billy Penn could have ever imagined” in her Twisted Philly podcast.
Twisted Philly is an amalgamation of humor, story-telling, and entertainment sharply concentrated on “true crime, haunted history, cool and creepy places to visit, Philly legends” and more.
Also, the recommended episode begins with a rhyming summary of the subject crime, set to the eerie rhythm of the T’was the Night before Christmas poem. It’s just worth every second of checking out.
Recommended: Episode 18 – ‘Twas the Murder Before Christmas
True Crime Garage
Two guys. A garage. And, lots of crime. True Crime Garage is the type of podcast you’ll want to grab a beer for (but, please don’t, if you’re on your commute). The two hosts, Nic and the Captain, “discuss captivating real life cases” and frequently provide compelling and original insight.
Experiencing this podcast is like hanging out with a couple of friends on a Friday night and talking about the most peculiar and outlandish crime cases that either of you can recall. The organic banter between Nic and Captain is particularly enjoyable. And, the most intriguing reason to tune in is that they tend to cover cases which they can legitimately add something to.
In the recommended episodes, Nic and the Captain examine Brandon Lawson’s dread-inducing, and essentially undecipherable, 911 call on the night of his disappearance. Best described as the Rorschach test of true crime, everyone interprets the enigmatic 911 audio differently. However, only True Crime Garage uses their equipment to painstakingly present the call in many different ways. And, as it just so happens, the Captain is also a “legit bonafide sound engineer” able to provide an experienced perspective.
Frankly, these episodes are a good starting point for new listeners because they demonstrate exactly why True Crime Garage is superior to a lot of other shows out there.
Recommended: Episode 85 – Brandon Lawson 911 Tape – Part 1
And, the continuation: Episode 86 – Brandon Lawson 911 Tape – Part 2
Based out of Detroit, the Already Gone podcast shares “stories of the missing, the lost, the mysterious and the murdered.”
Host, Nina Innsted, is a truly talented writer who presents interesting, and often unknown, accounts with skilled focus. She painstakingly frames her subject’s perspective in a way that is both empathetic and humanizing.
In one Itunes review, Nina is described accordingly:
“If there was a Mrs. Rogers who [had] fountains of knowledge and HEAPS of soothing tones to share a tale…this would be her!”
And seriously, though, her voice is buttery smooth. If Nina were to ever tire of providing her devoted fandom with heart-wrenching true crime stories, she could easily have a long and prosperous career in reading audiobooks, or just outright replacing Siri, or narrating yoga classes, or… well, the list of possibilities goes on and on.
The Vanished podcast focuses on unresolved disappearances and “investigates a different missing persons case” every week. This show has quickly become a crucial platform for oft-ignored family members to broadcast the details of overlooked, yet intriguing, cases of missing ones.
The deeply moving podcast has become such a powerful tool for those searching for missing people that it’s currently booked for months in advance. But, The Vanished‘s compassionate and personable host, Marissa Jones, always puts anyone who is interested on the schedule. Because of Marissa’s dedication and diligence, The Vanished has become a formidable pioneer in presenting some of the most interesting and heartbreaking mysteries.
Ultimately, this podcast is a definitive testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and, at the same time, a harrowing chronicle of the extraordinary challenges that everyday people must face when a loved one disappears.
Recommended: Episode 32 – Lisa Irwin
The Trail Went Cold
With a heavy emphasis on downright bizarre mysteries, The Trail Went Cold is an awesome podcast for anyone who dreams of the glorious day that the show, Unsolved Mysteries, will be revived. Weekly episodes of The Trail Went Cold explore enigmatic crime cases and inexplicable disappearances.
The podcast is hosted by the friendliest-sounding man on Earth, Robin Warder, who you may recognize as a writer of many true crime articles. Succinct and knowledgeable, Robin has “published over 100 articles for both Cracked and Listverse” throughout the years. In every episode, Robin provides a detailed synopsis of the subject mystery and then “offers his own theories as to what really happened.”
The Trail Went Cold is a reliable guilty pleasure for any true crime buff. It is tightly produced, informative, and obviously, the product of genuine interest and dedication on the part of Robin Warder.
Recommended: Episode 25 – Hugues de la Plaza
The Generation Why Podcast
A tried and true favorite, Generation Why covers a wide variety of topics from wrongful convictions and paranormal hoaxes, to current technological concerns, like piracy or privacy. This podcast’s breadth of subject matter provides a little something for everyone.
The discussions between Aaron and Justin are dynamic and thorough. Both hosts usually present genuinely-differing positions, ensuring that their rationales are thoughtful and well-researched, yet also expansive and interesting.
They are also both capable, professional narrators and make a great team. Aaron is particularly adept at ensuring that all GenWhy topics are approached in a concise and detail-oriented fashion. At the same time, Justin brings a sense of congenial charm and enthusiasm to Generation Why. Their chemistry assigns a very endearing quality to the podcast.
A unique strength of the Generation Why podcast is its capability to adequately highlight and provide thoughtful analysis on so many controversial subjects and stories. And, not only do the hosts consistently achieve this objective, but they consistently do so in a way that is neither offensive nor lacking in depth.
Recommended: Episode 183 – The Death of Tina Watson
But the two talented ladies did offer their assistance and expertise to History Dweebs host, Tim Scott, for the development of “a serious (i.e. not comedy) true crime podcast.” (…which is kind of like falling in love, right?) Shortly after In Sight‘s official launch, it became unfortunately apparent that Tim would be sidelined by his own busy schedule.
However, Ali and Charlie, enthusiastically insured that the show would go on. And, boy, are true crime and mystery fans everywhere glad they did!
In Sight is a weekly podcast that deals with “unsolved and unresolved crimes, missing persons, possible wrongful convictions, urban legends and any other baffling mystery that takes [their] interest.”
Providing a unique and international perspective, Ali and Charlie create each episode over Skype from their respective homes in Australia and the United States. They are adept at communicating even the most complex of stories in an organized and clear manner.
The show is produced according to a simple, but effective, philosophy:
“Our goal is to give you the facts, throw in some theories, a spoonful of rabbit hole ideas and mix them all together to give you our hour (ish) long format of conversation and discussion.”
Bereft of excessively idle chitchat, this podcast is a well-balanced amalgamation of researched story-telling and intelligent examination. In Sight has achieved quick distinction and popularity most assuredly because of the energy and freshness of its remarkably down-to-earth and talented narrators.
Recommended: Episode 30 – Lyle Stevik and Princess Doe
Throughout the month of March, True Noir will be dutifully retweeting and sharing all sorts of captivating podcasts. Please follow True Noir on Twitter and Facebook to see additional recommendations for creators and facilitators of true crime and mystery entertainment. (The emerging industry of podcasts is so damn exceptional that it was impossible to incorporate all of our recommendations into a singular blog post.)
And, please, if you appreciate any of these or other podcasts, REVIEW AND RATE THEM ON ITUNES. For many new and struggling podcasts, sincere and consistent support can mean a world of difference, oftentimes providing the visibility and ad revenue necessary to continue production.
Also, True Noir would love to hear from YOU. What are your favorite podcasts? Do you prefer the podcast format to other forms of reporting? What do you think really makes a great podcast?
Please feel free to share your recommendations and appreciation for the above, or any additional, podcasts in the comments. As always, keep in mind that just by reading and sharing true crime media, you could potentially be a crucial component in solving the mystery.