Scientology · Béla Károlyi · The Lottery

It's an all-podcast issue!

I got a media industry newsletter yesterday that was subject lined “The Fall TV Season Is Doomed.” I’m ostensibly on vacation this week, so I deleted it without opening it — but even if fall TV is doomed, the made-for-social-distance medium of podcasting is here to take up the slack. There are new shows announced every day, many of them in our chosen genre of true crime. Today I’m running down some of the most intriguing-sounding podcasts that have just dropped, will be released shortly, or are on the distant horizon. We’d love to hear what you’re listening to — or looking forward to — in the comments. — EB

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Code 18: Unsolved

“There are nearly 400 unsolved homicides in Toledo dating back to 1950,” writes Toledo Blade reporter Kaitlin Durbin. “What’s it going to take to finally solve them?
Maybe a podcast.” With that bold move, Durbin introduces Code 18: Unsolved, a new podcast from the Ohio paper that will tackle one local, unsolved case each season. The first season is about the disappearance of Alvin Edwin Darrow Jr., who was last seen on July 27, 2017. His body’s never been found, so now Durbin will “re-examine what facts are known, with help from Toledo police, and re-interview witnesses about what they remember,” all in an effort to solve the case. The first two episodes were released Monday; you can catch up here.

Scientology: Fair Game

Entertainment Weekly reports that Leah Remini will follow her award-winning docuseries Scientology and the Aftermath with a podcast on the same topic, but “further, deeper, harder and stronger.” (Yes, I snickered, too.) Remini says that she turned to podcasting as a medium because “of frustration with A&E,” (the network that carried her series), as she had to "abide by certain [network] rules that dictate to us what we can and can’t say, or what we can and can’t do.” The show — which Remini will host with former church official/SatA regular Mike Rinder — will be recorded on a weekly basis, which will allow them to comment on stories still in the news cycle (Danny Masterson’s recent arrest comes to mind). Things are already getting exciting, too, as Rinder says on his blog that the podcast’s site was already “hacked and sabotaged.” This link worked as of Tuesday morning, and if not, Rinder suggests listeners “google it directly.”

Little Crimes on the Prairie

14-year-old Deborah Vallejo was found dead in a rural Minnesota creek in 1979, a crime that haunted Kristi Humphrey — who grew up nearby — since her teens. Humphrey, a lifelong “true crime fanatic” and former casino surveillance officer, tells the Worthington Globe that cases like Vallejo’s will form the backbone of her podcast, which will use original reporting and public records to gain insights into unsolved crimes in the Upper Midwest region. The first episode will drop on August 10, and the show already has an active Facebook presence here.

July 1, 2020

A Killing in Aiken

Frustrated by the lack of progress in the investigation of her mother’s death, a South Carolina woman contacted podcaster Gabe Travis…and that’s how we ended up with A Killing in Aiken, a show about the 1997 sexual assault and murder of Janice Wessinger, a case that’s become fodder for countless Facebook and Reddit detectives. The Aiken Standard reports that so far, Travis, “a local amateur sleuth,” and Wessinger’s daughter, Tamara Herber, have pored over details from the case for months, and the result will be a seven-part podcast with an August or September due date. "If we can solve it,” Travis says, “or if we can even get some people to remember some things that would aid in the police investigation, that would be amazing."

Heavy Medals

ESPN released all of Heavy Medals, its seven-part series on gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi, last week, which means bingers like me are now so pickled in Karolyi-speak that saying horrible things to people in bad Romanian accents suddenly seems like a great idea (it’s not). The Karolyis were presented as gymnastics heroes to an entire generation of Olympics viewers, and as anyone who pays attention to gymnastics knows, it turns out the way they built these little girls into champions was extremely fucked up! Pair this one with Athlete A, then burn all your childhood leotards in the yard. ESPN has a rundown of the episodes and a couple “read more”s here, and you can catch the full series here.

The Daily: “The Man Who Cracked The Lottery”

Thanks to Best Evidence reader Kitty Curley for bringing this one to our attention: the New York Times’ The Daily podcast can be…a lot, and its easy to miss good stuff. This Sunday’s episode revisits the paper’s excellent 2018 longread about an investigation into a sketchball, $16.5 million Hot Lotto ticket. It’s a crackling listen, and a terrific companion to the original story. Here’s the report, and here’s its new audio version.

Wednesday on Best Evidence: It’s the Blotter Presents Episode 151, in which Sarah is joined by guest Randy Wilkins to discuss The Business Of Drugs and Summer Of Sam.

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