The popularity of True Crime podcasts continues to grow, with comedy and news the only genres receiving more downloads each day. Australian show Casefile can consistently be found at the top of the charts worldwide. So what is it about the genre that people find so engaging? For Issue #016 of the Pod Bible magazine, we spoke to the Casefile team to find out…
For readers who are yet to hear about Casefile, could you tell us the premise of the podcast?
Casefile is a true crime podcast that examines cases from around the world, spanning centuries, continents and cultures. It’s presented by a single host and has a professionally produced audio format. Our episodes delve deep into the circumstances, investigations and trials of both solved and unsolved cases, looking at all different types of crimes.
How did the idea come about originally?
The host had the idea for Casefile whilst he was recovering from surgery. He’d been listening to various podcasts, some of which encouraged listeners to start their own shows, so this combined with the host’s interest in history and true crime led him to wonder whether there was space for an Australian crime podcast that focused on intriguing storytelling. And so Casefile was born, and it’s only grown from there.
What was the thinking behind the use of an anonymous host?
Respect for victims of crime and their families is at the forefront of everything we do at Casefile. We wanted the facts to speak for themselves without adding in personal opinions, speculation or biases, and without the distraction of a host’s personality.
We’re sure many of our readers would love to know a bit about the work that goes into creating each episode. Would you be able to briefly take us through the process?
We have a full team here at Casefile, which includes researchers, writers, production and admin. Everyone plays a role in each episode’s production. Once a case is selected, it’s thoroughly researched and then written by our amazing creative team. Then it goes through a stringent editing process to ensure it hits the Casefile mark. Once the script is finalised, the host records his narration and hands it over to production for editing and scoring. The episode is then reviewed by the entire team. Once approved, it’s ready to be uploaded. This process usually takes weeks to months, depending on the level of research involved and whether we’ve conducted interviews as well.
Which Casefile episode has been hardest to create, either from a personal perspective or due to the amount of work and research involved?
Every case has its own challenges – some are incredibly dense with lots of research to sort through, while information can be harder to come by with others, especially when the case is widely reported on in a language other than English. The ones where we work with the loved ones of victims are particularly demanding. Speaking with those affected by crime is always heartbreaking and it’s something we take very seriously. It’s truly humbling knowing they’re trusting us to tell their stories.
True crime is one of the most popular podcast genres out there, with only comedy and news shows receiving more downloads. Why do you think listeners find it so engaging?
True crime is a really unique topic. It tends to be fuelled by curiosity and a fascination with human behaviour – a lot of people are just so intrigued by the worst of humanity and criminal psychology. True crime podcasts also allow us to humanise victims and create a sense of unity in a society where we’re often dissociated from others’ lived experiences.
True crime is sometimes criticised – it’s been said it can glorify adject behaviour and disrespect the victims. What are your thoughts on this view of the genre?
It’s true that you need to tread carefully when creating a show that discusses harrowing events that have affected real people. There’s also potential for great empathy and positive change in true crime storytelling, and podcasts can be a way to honour those impacted by and lost to violence. Casefile always strives for this by keeping our focus on victims and their families.
If someone is new to your podcast, where would you say is the best place to start? Is there a particular episode you’d point them to?
We recently released a Spotify playlist that encapsulates the most talked about episodes across the Casefile Presents catalogue – that would be a really great place to start. It’s called The Casefile Archives. Our multipart episodes have also been received exceptionally well by our audience, so we’d have to recommend those as well.
Finally, are there any podcasts – true crime or otherwise – that you’d like to recommend to our readers?
There are so many amazing shows out there, it’s impossible to pick just one! Some of the podcasts recommended by our team are The Dollop, Hardcore History, Criminal, Your Own Backyard and Australian True Crime. But we also recommend all Casefile Presents shows: Silent Waves, What’s Missing, The Vanishing of Vivienne Cameron, Pseudocide and The Invisible Hand. We also have Casefile Brazil for Portuguese speaking listeners!
Can’t get enough of true crime podcasts? Check out our article Podcast enthusiast turned Sherlock Holmes: Why do people listen to true crime podcasts? for more theories and recommendations of some great shows…