Probably my favourite podcast is produced by Paul, better known to us all as The True Crime Enthusiast. I’m delighted he took some time out to talk to me about what he does and why he does it. Enjoy….
So, The True Crime Enthusiast Podcast…well it started almost three years ago now as a blogspot where I covered cases of note and reviewed books. I have always enjoyed writing very much – I used to do amateur dramatics a few years back that I ended up being the chief writer for the productions we put on, and needing a distraction and an outlet for personal reasons back in 2016, I began delving into online blogs. As has been my chosen genre for many years, since I was a youngster, it was true crime that gripped me. Dunno why, blame Crimewatch I suppose – but it’s been all I have read for donkey’s years, as much as I ever could.
So, these things naturally intersected back then – I realised how many blogs were out there, and it was about the same time that I discovered podcasts. They became realler then a good word to score on Countdown back then, and once again, it was true crime ones. I stumbled across the UK True Crime podcast – dunno if you’ve listened to it much. He’s ok – for a Leeds fan anyway and he looks a bit like Kurt Angle – and was hooked. I loved the down to earth personable presentation, the choice of obscure and against the norm cases, and by that time I was myself comfortable in writing the blog – so decided to take Adam’s offer for listener written episodes up and offer a case I’d researched. It went down well, I was pleased with it and enjoyed it. I followed this up with another couple of episodes written for UK True Crime which I loved doing, and I also wrote a double episode for The Minds Of Madness Podcast after this too.
By this time, I’d decided to do my own podcast – and almost two years later, I’m almost 90 episodes in and I find it going from strength to strength. And I think that it does because, without sounding too gushy, it’s a show I absolutely love doing, it’s my baby, and one that I try to express my enthusiasm for doing each week. What I have always told myself, since before I even began doing the show, is to try to put out what I myself would like to hear as a listener.
In what is now a proper saturated genre, I could choose about 50 different covers of the Yorkshire Ripper case, The Wests, Shipman – the high profile cases that have already been done to death, pardon the pun. It’s not something I see the point of doing really is that – what about the names of people that aren’t familiar to the public, the long forgotten cases? I’d listen to those before anything, because it isn’t controversial, high profile stories like the McCann disappearance that interest me – give me an unsolved murder circa 1974 all the time, for example.
And there are plenty of cases like this out there to dig out.
Over many years, I have managed to build up a quite extensive true crime library, and I tend to have quite a good memory for certain cases and names from years before, so I combine these and have a working list of potential cases on a chalkboard that I have on my fridge (I mention this often on the show). There will be allsorts on there – some have been on there since before the show began, others haven’t even made it that far but have featured on the show, but by using this as a working list, it helps me choose, then structure and focus upon the case selected for that week. Strangely, they do seem to choose themselves though, I could sketch out a full series before it starts and use only probably 10% of those, something else will leap forward, or I’ll find a new addition. But once it’s chosen, then I am usually able to focus solely upon it.
So it’s a case of leafing through loads of books and publications, online articles, newspaper archives, maps – on occasions with the show, I have even managed to go “on location” also, which helps give some colour to the narrative. I do strive for detail as well, I never think you can have too much detail – and for other shows I listen to, I’m always left impressed by the effort that goes into this. Keeps you listening doesn’t it?
As I work rolling day and night shifts for the pension plan, my research and writing I manage to split between my home and work life, at all hours of the day and night – and I do try to limit this, because it can get too much. Shows such as these, if you are serious about them, become like a second job, so you have to have some downtime as well. I do this, I love a musical background to research and write to, and I love an eclectic mix of allsorts – but you’ll never find me too far from a bit of Indie really, that’s my constant. So many episodes have been written to the soundtrack of the likes of Oasis, The Stone Roses or The Charlatans – which again, I have mentioned once or twice on the show. Sometimes as well I leave it all behind for the night and go out for a beer, go to a comedy night or my local pub quiz, read something lighter or watch some nonsense on TV, although this never really expands further than crime documentaries (which my planner is full of) or crime dramas (Line Of Duty – my next few Sunday nights are covered completely). I never really find that I have the time anymore though. I do of course keep my hand in with other TC podcasts as well, mainly the UK ones (I like to nosey and see whose covering what cases :D) and out of the many of these, there are a hardcore few that I never miss.
Since I began The True Crime Enthusiast, it’s been a proper ride, and a great learning curve. I have learned of and covered some of the most horrific and chilling cases that there is, and there are many names and details that will always now stay with me. It can be a dark thing to bury your head into constantly – but, as I try to express as a maxim on the show, no one deserves to be forgotten, and I’m one of those willing to step up and do my share to ensure that their tales are heard. And perhaps sadly, it seems to be a never ending well. But although it’s always a dark topic that the show revolves around, it brings with it some light and good times also. I’ve taken inspiration and advice from others who continue to do so for me, and I feel that over time I have refined and developed a comfortable style of writing, recording and editing, so much so that I’m relaxed about doing the show and look forward to doing it – crazy as it sounds, I love the research and writing and it sometimes can be my winddown. I’ve been accepted as part of such a great community, the online true crime one, and have gotten to know several great people who I can happily call friends. I’ve had the opportunity to do collaborations with some other great shows which I’ve loved doing, I’ve been asked for advice from aspiring hosts and have been happy to give it, and I’ve enjoyed working from scratch to build up the show to what it is now – which I am constantly bowled over with. It’s expanded over Facebook, where it has it’s own page and busy discussion group, Twitter, Instagram – all of the usual social media, it even has it’s own kindly well-supported Patreon Page, and coming soon even, an online shop. I’m even thinking about a book now also, if the interest is there.
Over everything, I try to be as active and involved on a personal level as I can be – because I keep my feet on the ground and never get above my station. I love the interaction with listeners, and if people take their time out to listen to me and get in touch, then I wouldn’t dream of being aloof like that and not bothering to respond – I always get back to anyone who gets in touch. I also believe strongly that personable and approachable, and you have to come across that you enjoy doing what you do is the key to this, because the listeners control the show really – it isn’t a show without those guys, and if they don’t think you enjoy it, I can never see how they then will. Plus, learning from good honest feedback and a decent review can really spur you on if you’re ever having writers block, or a bit of a slump and the editing mountain seems impossible to climb. The same as constructive criticism can give you food for thought – I’m not a professional broadcaster, a sound engineering genius or a graphic designing superstar. I’m just a normal bloke in his spare room who enjoys doing what he does, on the ever constant learning curve that this is. As I said before, True Crime is now a saturated genre, but I would never dissuade anyone from having a go also if they are passionate about it. It is a lot of work, but if it’s your passion, keep at it and it will pay off, it has for me, and I’m proud of it. Be proud of what you do, because it’s yours.
The day I stop being enthusiastic about what I do, or think that I know it all, well, it will stop there, it would have to. But I don’t really see that happening – far too many tales to come from The Enthusiast yet.
Find the True Crime Enthusiast podcast at Apple Podcasts or wherever you normally listen, and take a look at his website here.