Picks of the week
True-crime podcasting turns to the hot stuff with the story of a man who wrote a novel in the 90s about a sad loner who starts fires across California to get kicks. It is described as “not a great work of fiction”, but investigators fear it might be a real-life confession from a serial arsonist. Film-maker Kary Antholis goes on the trail in true radio drama style, complete with the word “incendiary” to describe the action and typewriter sound effects, but can he shed light on the firestarter and satisfy crime fans? Hannah Verdier
Influencers, content creators … call them what you want, but this podcast shows why three young social media superstars are such a magnet for their followers. Lovable and outspoken trio Mariam Musa, Nella Rose and Adeola Patronne’s debut pod is simply them talking about what’s got them pressed this week. (For the non-Gen Zers, that’s annoyed.) It’s a romp through important topics such as Khloé Kardashian’s love life, concerts that never happened and anything else that’s irking them. HV
Producer pick: The Witness – In His Own Words
Chosen by Danielle Stephens
Trigger warning: this podcast covers issues of sexual, physical and psychological abuse, as well as struggles with addiction
I had The Witness: In His Own Words on my ‘to listen list’ for a couple of months, bit I think I put it off because I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy listen. I was right. Listening to Joey O’Callaghan’s story was not something I enjoyed, but I was captivated and ended up binging the 10-part series in two days.
Yellow Path Productions decided to take a minimalistic approach when it came to sound design. The main voice you hear is that of Joey, the youngest person to have ever entered Ireland’s Witness Protection Programme when he gave evidence in a murder trial in 2005. Every now and then you hear the interviewer ask a question, or the journalist who first covered Joey’s story will explain some context that the protagonist left out. There’s no archive, and scoring is used as a transitional tool, rather than to create an emotive response, leaving the listener clinging to the words of a man who has been through more than most can imagine.
10/10 for some truly empathic podcast making.
A new series of the official Prince podcast dissects the story behind his most recent posthumous release, Welcome 2 America, recorded in 2010 and released this week. Hosted by music journalist Andrea Swensson and Prince collaborators Shelby J and Morris Hayes, it charts the making of a pleasingly fresh and funky addition to the Purple One’s discography.
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