Sports. Concerts. Theater.
And now, podcasts.
The newest form of live events, podcasts have evolved from audio experiences to in-person attractions. Popular podcasts now fill theaters with unique, interactive live events that celebrate the communities that have arisen around the shows.
Perhaps nowhere is the podcast community stronger than among followers of Crime Junkie. The true crime podcast routinely ranks among the most downloaded podcasts in the country, and its tour fills theaters throughout the country.
Crime Junkie host Ashley Flowers sat down with Vivid Seats to discuss how she and co-host Brit Prawat choose stories to tell, the community of fans they’ve built and what makes seeing Crime Junkie in person such a unique experience.
Photo by John Bragg
Vivid Seats: Millions of people download Crime Junkie each month. But for those unfamiliar, how would you describe Crime Junkie?
Ashley Flowers: Crime Junkie is a weekly podcast and every Monday we dive into a new true crime case with the goal of educating or raising awareness about the topics we discuss. You could stumble across the show as a novice and it could spark the Crime Junkie in you for the first time or long-time true crime enthusiasts can listen and learn new things about cases they thought they knew backward and forwards.
VS: What makes true crime so entertaining?
AF: I think most people feel like they missed their calling as a detective. With Crime Junkie it is most important to me that people remember these are real people we are talking about. Real families, real tragedies and within each case there is a takeaway. Whether that’s an action item, a way for people to get involved, a way for them to insight bigger change or even just a lesson about self-awareness or protection. True Crime should be more than entertainment and that’s important to us in every project we have done.
VS: There is probably no shortage of true crime stories that you could share. How do you determine which stories to tell?
AF: I have been consuming true crime stories for years, so when I started the show I picked from cases that had intrigued me the most, but as the show grew we started getting suggestions from our fans directly -- that includes some who have lost loved ones and people in law enforcement. Anytime we get contacted by law enforcement or family members we try to make those stories a priority.
VS: You've deliberately refrained from posting live shows as podcasts. What makes the in-person Crime Junkie experience so sacred and special?
AF: Our live show is everything our fans love about our weekly show, but with an entire visual component that we don’t normally get to share on the podcast. Fans get a chance to analyze the facts and police reports of the case right along with me and Brit and we crafted this specific story in a way that is really built around the visuals.
VS: You have a special fan club. You've performed in nearly two dozen cities. Your meetups seem to attract tons of fans. Are you ever surprised at the sort of community that your podcast has been able to build?
AF: Every day! Especially because when you podcast, you do it in such a bubble. Brit and I aren’t even in the same room when we record, so I do most of the work without ever seeing anyone else. Then I walk into a theatre with literally thousands of fans who’ve come to hear us tell a story and it blows me away every time.
VS: You recently launched a new podcast, Supernatural. What can fans expect from that?
AF: Supernatural is so much fun. I have always been a bit of a conspiratorialist and I love digging into the stories that don’t seem to have a logical explanation. I think fans can expect a great balance of fascination and fact. I tell these wild stories and present all the theories, the super out there theories and the ones rooted in facts and listeners can decide for themselves what to believe.
VS: How do you imagine audiochuck (the production company behind Crime Junkie) growing, expanding or evolving in the future?
AF: There are so many possibilities and podcasting is evolving so fast that it’s hard to answer that in a concise way. But I think fans can expect us to continue putting out even more content curated especially for our Crime Junkie audience.