Featured Reviews

These reviews are the top choice from our Podfluencers each month. These posts feature primarily on our home page.

True Crime Tuesday Feature: They Will Kill

They Will Kill

They Will Kill is one of the best true crime podcasts. There is no denying the power of siblings. Think about it. There are endless combination of talented and famous siblings: Venus & Serena Williams, John and Joan Cusack, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen – simply to name a few! So it’s not surprising that sisters Courtney and Sadie Eck have teamed up for one of the best independent top true crime podcasts out there.

They Will Kill is not only the product of two sisters, but it is also a podcast for true-crime podcast fans by true-crime podcast fans. These two sisters are such fans of true crime podcasts that to keep up with their rate of listening, they decided to start their own. From their time growing up in a rural town in central Indiana, they constantly relied on each other for entertainment. Which is one of the most appealing aspects of They Will Kill. Not only do these sisters have undeniable chemistry, but it’s the combination of chemistry and banter that makes it so entertaining as a listener. 

Since launching in February of 2020 it’s clear that each episode of They Will Kill will come with a disclaimer. The episode will be well researched, and it will likely be a case you are unfamiliar with. Courtney and Sadie’s undeniable passion for all things true crime is apparent given the depth of research they provide for each topic. What I have enjoyed most about listening to They Will Kill is that each case covered is one that I have been unfamiliar with. Courtney and Sadie will explore cases ranging from a mass shooting in a bowling alley to a man that botched a planned heist on Halloween night. 

They Will Kills offers a balance of both case investigation and host commentary. Where some podcasts never quite find this balance, Courtney and Sadie both do a great job of staying on track with the case but also providing a level of brevity with their commentary. With episodes typically clocking in at around 45 minutes, They Will Kill makes for a great listen to get some weekend chores done or just throw on and have a relaxing cup of tea or coffee. Regardless of how you take your true-crime podcast, don’t miss out on one of our favorite podcasts from 2020. 

True Crime Tuesday Feature: Drinking the Koolaid

PodFluence podcast review for #truecrimetuesday featuring “Drinking the Koolaid”

Podfluence Top 10 of 2020

The 2020 Countdown

Well, here we are. This long, brutal, weird, year is finally coming to an end. There’s no doubt that 2020 sucked, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some highlights. We wouldn’t have been able to get through this year if podcasts didn’t allow us the avenue to escape from the real world for a little bit. 

At Podfluence we have had the opportunity to work with and feature a ton of awesome podcasts this year. Full stop – the podcast world has never been in a better place than it is exiting 2020. We’ve also heard the phrase “everyone has a podcast” more this year than likely ever before. That’s why we wanted to end the year with our Podfluence Top 10 Podcasts of 2020. We will list these in no particular order as we aren’t Chartable or Spotify, and we definitely aren’t Apple. We’re just a few podcast fans that love true crime podcasts. 

Those Conspiracy Guys is my favorite true crime comedy podcast. The podcast is hosted and produced by Gordon Rochford, who typically has a guest on. The Dublin based podcast investigates conspiracy angles in some of the most and least famous cases. 

LISK is hands down one of the best podcasts in a long time. The single season podcast investigates the Long Island Serial Killer. An ideal podcast for a long drive or flight over the next few days. Contains interviews and first hand accounts of the grizzly murders, and the discovery of body bags on a beach. 

At this point I hope you’ve heard of red handed. The duo is the number one podcast in the United Kingdom and quickly growing in the United States. They remind me of Crime Junkie in the early days. I’m excited to see how they grow in 2021. It’s a must check out for any true crime podcast fans. 

If there was a podcast stock market, we would be buying stock in pi_rational. It’s one of our personal favorites here, and we expect big things in 2021. he anthology-style format not only keeps things exciting but makes for the perfect binge-listen. Each season is accompanied by a different narrator, all of who add to the mystique and lore of each story.

Looking to take a break from listening to murder? Check out Swindled. The podcast focuses on white collar crime, and sometimes it’s even more heinous than your typical crimes.  Check out the Bayer episode to start. 

When the quarantine fist hit in March, I was in a dark place. That dark place was a stale podcast library. But Cool Mules changed all of that. Seriously though, what’s more interesting than a couple of Vice employees trying to start a drug-smuggling ring and getting caught in the act. If you are either having a slow day at the home office or just relaxing on a Saturday, this is one of the most #bingeworthy pods we can recommend. 

Season one of Counter-Clock was simply fantastic. Host Delia D’Ambra explores a 23-year-old cold case that took place in her hometown on the coast of North Carolina. But in one of the small bright spots of 2020, a second season dropped in September and took this pod to the next level, as Delia investigates another case in her hometown. Needless to say, this is one of our favorites from this bizarre year.

It’s merely a coincidence that two drug smuggling podcasts have cracked our top 10 list this year. The Syndicate is 8 episodes of good old adrenaline pumping podcasting content. Host Chris Walker is an award-winning journalist that sheds light on one of the lives of varying members of one of the largest smuggling rings in the US. You won’t be disappointed by hitting play on The Syndicate. 

Another bright spot of 2020 is the growing popularity of Always Time for True Crime. Since its launch in February Always Time has skyrocketed up the charts and now comfortably sits within the top 200 true crime podcasts. Join host Julia as she dives deeper into the details of lesser know cases ranging from murders to missing persons. 

Hosted by journalist Josh Bloch, the Lost Kids explores the disappearance and search of a missing teen who mysteriously disappeared from a tough-love program his parents sent him to. Josh explores how some institutions prey on the idea of the “troubled teen” and what effects these programs have on the long term psyche of the kids who are sent to these dreadful programs. 

Podcast Spotlight: Pi_Rational

Podfluence interview with pi_rational

A few weeks ago we featured and reviewed a different type of podcast than you would typically see on Podfluence. That said, pi_rational has quickly become one of our favorite podcasts that we have stumbled on this year. This fictional series strays away from our typical true crime recommendation, but there’s a good reason for it…pi_rational is a work of art. 

This anthology series explores a different fictional story each season. With a new Christmas themed episode dropping on December 22nd, we recently sat down with podcast writer Kat to learn more about what inspired the idea for pi_rational and how the podcast has grown over the course of the past year. 

Check out our Q+A and stay tuned for pi_rational’s new Christmas episode: Sacrifice – A Witch’s Christmas Story!

 

 

Podfluence: What inspired you to start your show? What were some of your influences?

I always appreciated a great story and love fiction. It became clear to me that the fiction genre had started to shift away from books and onto other media, such as podcasts. I wanted to be a part of this movement and to provide a great and fun listening experience to others. It so happened that I was a fan of Crawlspace podcasts, and it made sense to become a part of the network since their goal was also to engage others and help them establish themselves. If it was not for Crawlspace I would probably never have started the podcast in the first place, so certainly a huge influence on Pi_Rational. They saw the potential and also wanted to dive into the world of Pi. 

Podfluence: What paths have you taken to grow your audience?

I try to engage on social media as much as possible. I also work with other podcasts on the network to spread the word. 

Podfluence: Is there a special episode of yours that you recommend new listeners to check out? 

I have a special attachment to every season because I wrote all the stories. I’ve always been very attached to Season 2, which is the story called “Bathtub”; it is the first story I had ever written. 

Podfluence: What has it been like to be a part of the Crawlspace Network? What is your favorite podcast on the Crawlspace network (besides your own)?

Without the support of Crawlspace network, and especially Lance, pi_rational would never exist. I have always appreciated the guidance and the honest feedback that I get. I think all the podcasts on the Crawlspace network are great to work with and we are keen on helping each other grow. 

It is so difficult to answer the last question because there are so many great shows! I would have to go with “Even the Podcast is Afraid”. I love their funny banter and their ability to make even the hardest topic easy to digest. The topics are thought-provoking and well written. 

Crawlspace

Crawlspace

When Missing Maura Murray first launched in July of 2015, there was no telling how popular Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna’s first podcast would become. But as you can imagine, they wanted to branch out from just covering the case of Missing Maura Murray. So in 2017 they decided to launch their second podcast: Crawlspace. Crawlspace was meant to continue their deep dives into missing persons cases, murders, robberies, and other mysteries. 

It’s important to note that Lance and Tim have incredible chemistry and that oozes out of your earbuds upon your first listen. But as appealing as Tim and Lance’s chemistry is, one of my favorite factors of Crawlspace is the variety of topics that they cover. The podcast initially launched covering the disappearance of Brianna Maitland, a teenager who went inexplicably missing in Vermont in March of 2004; a case that is eerily similar to that of Maura Murray. However, Tim and Lance have expanded into a variety of unsolved cases that they approach with the same passion they have for Maura Murray.

With variety being the spice of life, listeners can expect to hear guests ranging from criminologists, podcasters, victims, and government officials. Tim and Lance have a unique ability to draw information out of their guests while making them comfortable. This creates fantastic conversations with troves of valuable information. As a listener, it’s a great product to digest. Each episode is about an hour-long making it an easy podcast to add to your rotation.

Both Missing Maura Murray and Crawlspace have a very loyal fan base and take time to engage their audience. It’s more than just a podcast, which is why we love them here at Podfluence. If you want to check them out, check out GetVokkl on Thursday evenings. The two do a live show and it’s a great opportunity to interact with the hosts and whatever subjects they may be exploring that given week. 





Podcaster Spotlight: Naama Kates of Incel

Naama Kates of Incel

We were admittedly late to the party, but Incel has quickly become one of the more fascinating listens in our podcast lineup. It takes a very special person to take on such a complex topic. But that’s exactly what host Naama Kates is! We recently connected with Naama to learn more about what inspired her to start Incel, and what her podcasting journey has been like over the last 2 years. Check out our Podcaster Spotlight for Naama Kates of Incel!

Podfluence: What inspired you to start your show? What were some of your influences?

I actually started getting really into podcasts at the end of 2018 with Tim and Lance’s “Missing Maura Murray,” which was wisely recommended by my Apple podcast directory. I knew a bit about the story as a fellow true crime fan from New England, and I’m also a very “deep dive” kind of person so the fact that it was all about one case was enthralling. I have a background in film and I’ve produced and directed in that medium, so I became really interested in the challenge of vividly telling a story with only audio. Shows like Serial, Dirty John, S-town, and Caliphate were really influential with their use of interviews, editing, music, and sound design. I kind of knew I wanted to work in that space and found the subject of incels just fascinating and unexplored… but actually, I’d started having and recording my conversations with one incel without consciously realizing why. I played them for a friend and they said, you have to make a documentary or something out of this, and that’s how it began!

Podfluence: What paths have you taken to grow your audience?

Choosing guests who have some following with whom I can cross-promote is a great way, including other podcasters who cover interesting topics (CSN obviously has a bunch of great ones) or content creators of other kinds, from YouTube, radio, or blogs. I’m also fortunate to have picked a pretty niche topic (and named my show with that single word!) which has been the subject of some very serious news lately, so it’s gotten attention in many academic, law enforcement, and political circles. Early on the show got a New York Times write-up which was immensely helpful too.  

Podfluence: Is there a special episode of yours that you recommend new listeners to check out? 

I think that ep. 1: “Bluepilled AF,” ep. 6: “GoneER,” and ep. 8: “The True Believer” are all great places to start for true crime fans and for the story… and maybe ep. 15: “The Chadfishing Experiment,” for something a bit lighter. 

Podfluence: What has it been like to be a part of the Crawlspace Network? What is your favorite podcast on the Crawlspace network (besides your own)?

As I mentioned, Crawlspace is where I first developed my taste for podcasts, even as a fan, so being a part of the network is really a dream come true. Tim and Lance, our pod bosses, are so easygoing and helpful, and smart and funny, and as with every production, the tone of the organization is established at the center and runs throughout, so I think everyone involved is wonderful too, and I’m honored to be included in this group of fantastic shows. Among my favorites are MMM and Crawlspace, Empty Frames, LA Not So Confidential, and Criminal Perspective. 

More Reviews On Incel!

New York Times Review

Vulture Podcast Review

Mind over Murder: Take 2

Mind Over Murder

When we first reviewed Mind Over Murder earlier this year we had just featured it on our “Top 3 Podcasts of 2020, So Far” list. Now that 2020 is coming to a welcome close, it’s fair to say that we can drop the “so far” part of that statement. This investigative podcast is led by two victim advocates that bring a level of professionalism and passion to the medium that is quite refreshing in such a content-rich genre.

Why is it so easy to love Mind Over Murder? Because this is a podcast that is done for the right reasons as host Bill Thomas has been directly affected by a crime himself. He is the brother of Cathy Thomas, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, who was with her girlfriend Rebecca Dowski when they became the first victims of the Colonial Parkway Murders. Bill’s background is flush with experience as an entertainment executive. Mind Over Murder is truly a team effort as Bill is joined by his co-host Kristin Dilley who is a researcher, writer, and teacher. By combining their powers as victim’s advocates, Bill and Kristin present an incredibly informative podcast with a ton of personality. 

 

When we first reviewed Mind Over Murder in April they had just released their tenth episode. Fast forward to December of this year and the Mind Over Murder feed is flush with over forty episodes. Mind Over Murder listeners will easily be drawn in by the levels of professionalism and thoughtfulness that both Kristin and Bill approach each episode with. 

Bill and Kristin will walk you through a variety of cases with an intricate focus on details and storytelling. The majority of episodes cover cases in the Virginia area, stemming from the Colonial Parkway Murders. There is quite a bit of variety to Mind Over Murder as well. Bill and Kristin not only cover a variety of cases but will also conduct interviews with victims and crime professionals.  The crimes are captivating and well-known guests bring insights, always while being respectful to the victims. 

What’s most impressive about Minds of Murder is how Bill and Kristin have been able to find their footing early in the first season. Their chemistry is undeniable, and their professional approach to the research and presentation of each episode is second to none. Episodes clock in at anywhere from 45-60 minutes, making Minds of Murder the perfect time filler for this quarantined life most of us are living right now. So if you need something new to listen to, why not check out one of the fastest-growing podcasts of the year!

incel

incel

We review podcasts that span across the deepest and darkest parts of the web, but nothing prepared us for the journey Incel took us on. It’s difficult to know even where to begin when covering a topic like the deranged Incel community. And to be frank, before we go any further, this is not a true-crime podcast. Incel is a podcast that focuses on the exploration of a self-identified community. An Incel is best described as a member of an online subculture that defines themselves as “involuntary celibate.” Involuntary celibate describes a person, typically a man, who identifies as being frustrated by a lack of opportunities to have sex. 
 
 
As you can guess, this is an extremely complex and nuanced topic to cover, and Incel could not have a better host to bring you through this twisted journey. Producer and host, Naama Kates, sets the tone instantly by exploring the background and rise of this online subculture. Admittedly, I did not have much familiarity with this topic, which in many ways made me the perfect listener. That is where the strength of host Naama Kates comes into play. Naama is an extremely talented actress, musician, and filmmaker that has expanded her talents into podcasting. She met instant success. The background of this project is interestingly non-linear for her. Naama has always had an interest in the emergence of technology and online profiles. But it wasn’t until she received a DM from an incel that she brought this podcast to life. 
 
The intimacy of the podcast format is the perfect medium to explore such a complex topic. Naama utilizes a variety of investigative formats – narrated online posts, personal interviews with doctors and nurses, and other members of this subculture to explore this web-based phenomenon. Not only is her narration and hosting style a perfect fit for the topic, but also Naama’s personality also brings a sense of calming for her guests so they can comfortably discuss such a twisted topic. 
 
Since Incel’s launch in August of 2019, it has become increasingly popular not only amongst podcast listeners but as a voice to better educate society on the important online subculture. There’s no question why Incel was featured in the New York Times as one of the best new podcasts in 2019. I went into my first listen of Incel with little to no knowledge of this topic, Incel educated me in an extraordinary eye-opening, and respectful manner.

Q & A with DIE-ALOGUE

Interview with DIE-ALOGUE

If you’ve been keeping up with Podfluence over the last few weeks then you may be familiar with the very impressive podcasts featured on the Crawlspace Media Network. If you are familiar with true crime podcasts, then the name Rebekah Sebastian might ring a bell. And if it doesn’t – and you are a true-crime fan, you should familiarize yourself with her amazing podcast Die-Alogue and her Yellow Tape trivia show. But don’t take our word for it (but you should check out our review)!

We recently sat down with Rebekah to learn more about what inspired her podcasting journey, recommended Die-Alogue episodes, and what else she’s listening to!

 

Podfluence: What inspired you to start your show? What were some of your influences?

After 2 years of hosting YELLOW TAPE: a true crime trivia show, which is a live, interactive show, I noticed my audience was often wanting to talk about the cases or topics we covered during the game. So even though I worried the world didn’t need another true-crime podcast, I went ahead anyway, because I felt there was room for an interview format true crime show.

I’m probably influenced by every podcaster I love but because of the interview style of DIE-ALOGUE, I really look to people I consider great interviewers like: Dax Shepard, Terry Gross, James Lipton, and Kelly Ripa.

Podfluence: What paths have you taken to grow your audience?

I am doing all the usual suspects- social media, email newsletter, promoting within podcast specific FB groups, and swapping promos with other like-minded podcasters. Most recently, I have been dabbling in Reddit and engaging “Redditors” there which is a whole new experience. I am finding it a helpful place to introduce my show to people who are interested in the topics that come up on DIE-ALOGUE. On my most recent google analytics report, Reddit is now the third source of traffic to my website!

Podfluence: Is there a special episode of yours that you recommend new listeners to check out? 

Impossible. Can’t answer! Ok, let me try; if a listener cares about criminal justice reform or current events, they might enjoy my interview with Matthew Horace, retired Law enforcement officer and author of a book called Black and Blue – it was a great conversation about policing in America. ( episode 56)  For something totally different, I have interviewed some of my own personal favorite podcasters like Justin Evans from Generation Why, and Tiffany Reese from Something Was Wrong Podcast. ( episode 24)Also, if cults are your thing, every episode in October was a deep dive into cults with experts Rick Alan Ross and Dr. Janja Lalich.

Podfluence: What has it been like to be a part of the Crawlspace Network? What is your favorite podcast on the Crawlspace network (besides your own)?

It’s been great – the network is a supportive community and we are like a podern family. 🙂 We are always trying to find ways to build each show within the network, and Tim and Lance are great leaders and friends to all of us. They are all great shows,  but I particularly love LA not so confidential because I am really interested in the WHY and who better to learn that from then forensic psychologists? Also, Criminal Perspective is great and Chris Duett, the host, is a fantastic interviewer!

pi_rational stories

pi_rational stories

We spend a lot of time at Podflience talking about true crime podcasters and their amazing pods. But for this review, we are going to take a slight left turn from true crime and focus on a fictional series. To first understand Pi_Rational Stories, you need to table your expectations for a fictional podcast. Because these are not your typical Great Gatsby’s or To Kill a Mockingbirds. Pi_Rational focuses on the space between reality and fantasy. That space between the darkness and light. The distance from rational and irrational. 

What sets Pi_Rational apart from other fictional podcasts is that it is more than podcast. Pi_Rational is a work of art. Each episode is written carefully with each word in mind keeping the listener hanging to each passing second of the podcast. Given that this is a work of art, it’s hard to point out one characteristic that makes Pi_Rational so great. Listeners will find themselves quickly drawn in by the smooth narration and incredible writing. It’s almost as if hypnosis is due to set in by pushing play. 

So where does Pi_Rational play in the true crime world you ask? Great question! It doesn’t play in the true-crime universe. But this audio drama is part of the broader Crawlspace Media Network, who specialize in true-crime podcasts, and Pi_Rational fits perfectly into their rost of well-produced and content-rich podcasts. These are stories are not only haunting, but they offer listeners an escape from the typical true-crime podcast while maintaining that level of mystery we are all searching for. 

Since it’s launch in October of 2019, Pi_Rational Stories has released 5 fantastic seasons of stories. The anthology-style format not only keeps things exciting but makes for the perfect binge-listen. Each season is accompanied by a different narrator, all of who add to the mystique and lore of each story.

By this point, you can tell I have sung the praises of Pi_Rational without revealing too much detail. Simply put, the less you know the better heading into these stories of drama and intrigue. With episodes ranging from 15-30 minutes, you can kill an entire weekend of activities or just lose yourself in a cup of coffee for a mid-afternoon escape. However you see fit, let Pi_Rational guide you into a new realm of audio fiction you haven’t experienced before.