Aug 25, 2023

The History of True Crime Podcasts

In the digital age, storytelling has taken on new forms, and one genre that has risen to prominence is true crime. While true crime stories have fascinated audiences for centuries, the emergence of true crime podcasts has added a modern twist to this age-old fascination. In this blog post, we delve into the captivating history of true crime podcasts, tracing their evolution from humble beginnings to becoming a global phenomenon that captivates millions of listeners.

The birth of true crime podcasts

True crime storytelling has always held a certain allure, from crime novels to documentaries. However, the surge in popularity of podcasts in the early 2000s created a unique platform for these stories to be shared. The concept of true crime podcasts began to take shape as creators recognized the potential to explore gripping narratives in an audio format that allowed listeners to immerse themselves in the details and emotions of each case.

Early pioneers

One of the earliest pioneers in the true crime podcasting world was “Serial,” which premiered in 2014 and immediately captured the attention of a global audience. Produced by journalist Sarah Koenig, “Serial” presented an in-depth investigation of a single murder case over the course of its first season. This groundbreaking podcast introduced the serial format, where a single case is explored over multiple episodes, allowing for a deep dive into the complexities of the story.

Mainstream recognition

As “Serial” gained traction, other creators and media outlets began to recognize the potential of true crime podcasts. Soon, more podcasts emerged that offered diverse perspectives on cases, blending storytelling, interviews, and investigative journalism. Shows like “Criminal,” “Sword and Scale,” and “My Favorite Murder” introduced new angles and styles to the genre, attracting listeners from all walks of life.

The appeal of true crime podcasts

The rapid growth of true crime podcasts can be attributed to several factors that make the genre uniquely suited to the podcasting format:

  • Intimacy and engagement: Podcasts offer an intimate and immersive experience for listeners, allowing them to become engrossed in the details of each case. The power of audio storytelling lies in its ability to engage the imagination and emotions of the audience.
  • Multi-episode formats: Serialized storytelling, commonly used in true crime podcasts, keeps audiences coming back for more. The suspenseful buildup across multiple episodes mirrors the experience of binge-watching a TV series.
  • Diverse narratives: True crime podcasts explore a wide range of cases, from historical mysteries to contemporary crimes. This diversity ensures that there’s something for everyone, catering to various interests within the genre.
  • Community and discussion: True crime podcasts foster communities of listeners who share their thoughts, theories, and insights. This sense of community engagement enhances the overall experience.
  • Accessibility: Podcasts are easily accessible and can be enjoyed while commuting, exercising, or doing household chores. This convenience has contributed to the genre’s popularity.

Ethical and victim-centered shift

As the popularity of true crime podcasts grew, a significant shift occurred within the genre. Creators began to prioritize ethical storytelling and the perspectives of victims and survivors. The rise of victim-centered and ethical true crime podcasts marked a departure from sensationalism and a renewed focus on respecting the humanity of those affected by crime.


True crime podcasts have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment and storytelling. From their early beginnings as a niche genre to becoming a mainstream phenomenon, these podcasts have transformed the way we engage with crime narratives. As they continue to evolve, ethical considerations and a victim-centered approach are becoming increasingly integral to the genre’s growth. With their unique ability to captivate listeners and shed light on both the chilling details and the human stories behind crimes, true crime podcasts are likely to remain a significant and influential form of storytelling for years to come.

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