Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Podcasting

Inside Podcasting (May 1st, 2017)

Spotify's "Mogul: The Life & Death of Chris Lighty," is the streaming giant's most ambitious show yet, according to Variety. The six-part Spotify Original is its first documentary series. It relates the story of music entrepreneur Lighty's "bootstrap rise" from Bronx-based nobody to manager of a stable of hugely successful hip-hop artists (Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, and more) to his startling suicide at the age of 44. Lighty seems to have been everywhere during the genre's 90s epoch, so "Mogul" serves as a lesson in hip-hop history as well. This show is hosted by Reggie Osse of the "Combat Jack" show. – VARIETY

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Ashley Ahearn hosts EarthFix's new "terrestrial" podcast, which examines personal choices in the face of climate change and current environmental concerns. The questions run the gamut from "Should I have kids?" to "Does environmental protest work?" The show's first episode explores the environmental footprint of modern-day death rituals by taking us to a burial in the hills of North Carolina, where the dearly departed have been laid to rest in a compost pile. – OPB

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

The second season of "Undisclosed" focused on Joey Watkins, a man who is serving a life sentence for murder. The series raised pertinent questions about the possibility that Watkins was not guilty in the death of a man named Isaac Dawson. Lawyer James Cobb, who represents the "Undisclosed" series, has petitioned Georgia's highest court to allow the show to copy in full a stenographer's audio record of the 2001 murder trial. A judge had previously allowed the show's producers to listen to the recording, but they were not allowed to copy it. “There is a common law right of access that doesn’t end with the conclusion of the case,” Cobb maintained in court. New info would be featured in an addendum to the second season. The Georgia Innocence Project is currently pursuing a motion for a new trial for Watkins. – AJC

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

"Fathers and Sons" has been named Podcast of the Year at the first British Podcast Awards. The show is all about contemporary masculinity, and it conducts that investigation via examining the contrasting perspectives of fathers and their sons. The show celebrates all the ups and downs of fatherhood, from birth to death to the natural inheritance of passions and personality that go down the line from parent to child. More than 400 podcasts entered to be considered for the top honor, and the winners were chosen by a panel of 50 judges from across the UK podcasting industry. – RADIO TODAY

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

"Serial" host Sarah Koenig says being a figure of public interest has taken some getting used to. “I’m thin-skinned. It hurts my feelings to see the mean things people say about me personally. But I put myself out there, so them’s the breaks," adding, "People feel that they know me, through the way I talk. And in a certain way, they do.” Koenig even admits to having her feelings hurt when fans say "S-Town" is a better show than "Serial": “Oh, I have an ego and I have cried. But it’s a different beast, a totally different kind of story. And I feel like it’s all of us.” Koenig served in an advisory position during edits on "S-Town." – STAR TRIBUNE

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

"The Dominant Paradigm" is a new podcast from Geeks of Doom that focuses on "American Gods," the new STARZ television series based on the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel by Neil Gaiman. For the first episode, "The Bone Orchard," the Geeks recap the plot of the series premiere, delve into the works that inspired it, discuss the overall visual style, and address changes from the novel. – GEEKS OF DOOM

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

The new "Theater People" podcast features an interview with Eva Noblezada, who was plucked from obscurity to star in the West End revival of "Miss Saigon." Noblezada talks about being discovered at 17 and landing the "Saigon" role, as well as making her West End debut in the ensemble of "Les Miserables" during preparations for her lead role in "Saigon." Noblezada is currently tackling the same role for the Broadway transfer of the "Miss Saigon" revival. – BROADWAY WORLD

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

PODCAST SPOTLIGHT

While we usually try to focus on currently-running or perhaps lesser known podcasts for the Spotlight, for this issue I asked if my Inside cohort, writer/editor Krystle Vermes, would be interested in summarizing her feelings on the full season of the wildly popular, somewhat controversial "S-Town" podcast. Since the show has run its course, and many post-series wrap-ups have been written, we're going to go into some spoilers regarding the show's ending. We feel this is fair play, as the show has been fully consumed by many podcast listeners already, and the nature of the show as it evolves and heads towards its finale is a fascinating reversal of sorts that naturally fosters discussion. Regardless, I offer you the first "Inside Podcasting" official SPOILER ALERT

There is little to be said about a small rural town where virtually nothing happens until the tranquility of the community is punctured by death. This is precisely what S-Town from “This American Life” and “Serial” hones in on as it follows the life of John B. McLemore, a man who ran out of patience for his hometown.

Call it “Sh*ttown,” like John did, or call it by its real name: Woodstock, Alabama. In the end, it’s all the same place that drove one 49-year-old man to take his own life. The podcast, which consists of seven episodes, is hosted by Brian Reed, a producer of “The American Life.” He received an email one day from John, who told him a (fictitious) story about a local man who not only got away with murder but bragged about it around Sh*ttown. Upon heading down to Alabama to investigate further, Reed developed an unusual bond with John, who seemed interested in more than just the alleged murder.

A lot more. Global warming. Clocks. Gold. Fire gilding with toxic mercury. All to an obsessive extent.

The mercury is assumed to play a role in John eventually taking his own life. Reed spends the end of the series discussing the side effects of mercury poisoning and how they may have led to John’s depression and overall negative outlook of Sh*ttown. Whether or not his love of fire gilding was a direct cause of his suicidal thoughts is up for debate. However, one thing listeners can certainty take away from S-Town is that mental illness is alive and well, and it can have an overwhelming impact on other lives. Suicide knows no bounds.

Some of the people John left behind quickly moved on – so quickly that they tried to make a profit off of his belongings as soon as he was pronounced dead. Others were left scratching their heads, but they always knew deep down inside that it was only a matter of time before Sh*ttown got the best of John. In the end, it was host Brian Reed who seemed to be most affected by the John's death. He made the podcast, after all, and he never thought twice about taking the trip down to Alabama to solve the enigma that was John B. McLemore.

It isn’t unusual to have many questions while in mourning. Death always seems unusually cruel, but can be especially heart-wrenching when it feels like time was cut short for someone on the verge of greatness. Reed alludes to John as being a strange kind of genius at the end of the series, a genius who few people truly got to know as a person.

Thanks to Reed, we can still get to know John, too.

@kavermes

THE BASICS
Title: "S-Town"
Episodes Available: 7
Episode Length: 45-60 mins
Where to Download: iTunes
Host: Brian Reed

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

How likely are you to recommend Inside Podcasting to a friend or colleague?

          

Subscribe to Inside Podcasting