Podcast You Should Hear: Carruth

Podcast: Carruth
Genre:
Sports, True Crime
How Can I Listen?: Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcast, RadioPublic, TuneIn

What’s it about?: Carruth is a podcast about Rae Carruth and the murder of his pregnant girlfriend Cherica Adams. It is also a lot more. Released in October of 2018 to coincide with the release of its namesake from prison, Carruth takes a fine-toothed comb over all the details and lays bare not only the details of the crime but the aftermath.

Much like Gladiator, this podcast is given extra weight and legitimacy because of how it is reported. Scott Fowler has been reporting on this case since 1999, and what we are welcomed to is seven episodes of depth, familiarity, and gravity that can only come from someone who lived with something for almost 20 years. Instead of diving into rumors and hearsay, it hammers home facts to paint the picture.

On the first episode, I instantly compared it to Gladiator and Fall of a Titan. It appeared to be a podcast that would lean on reporting and an attempt to shine new light on the case. I figured that meant to come up with reasons Carruth wasn’t responsible for Cherica’s death. Instead, it reveals the heart of what was a heartbreaking tale. It reveals the fight of Cherica Adams, who after being shot four times called 911 and hung on long enough for her son to be born.

Carruth isn’t short on details of violence. It describes how the murder of Adams took place. It also explains who both Carruth and Adams were, how they got together, and why he might have wanted her dead. But beyond all these details of the case, the one thing that becomes obvious is that the podcast isn’t about Carruth at all. It is a podcast that shows that in the wake of something truly horrible something absolutely beautiful can bloom. The beauty of the podcast comes from the love of mothers and the fight in Carruth’s son, Chancellor Lee Adams, who due to his mother’s murder has Cerebral Palsy.

Where other true crime podcasts give the details of something grisly, this podcast had me feeling hopeful and ultimately made me admire the good things that can come from the worst moments. The podcast ends talking about Carruth’s eventual freedom, but by that then you are less concerned about what happens to him and more happy at how the Adams Family will live the rest of their lives.

Length: Seven episodes ranging from 50 – 60 minutes.

Similar Podcasts: Steve McNair: Fall of a Titan, Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc., Crimetown, Serial

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Podcast You Should Hear: Gladiator

Podcast: Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.
Genre: Sports, True Crime
How Can I Listen?: Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcast

What’s it about?:
If you were to say that Gladiator was about Aaron Hernandez’s murder, the ensuing trial, and his eventual death I wouldn’t say you were wrong. I would say you weren’t taking in the whole story. Gladiator is all of those things, but it is also an indictment of the University of Florida Gators, New England Patriots, the world of football at large, and anyone who benefitted by looking the other way. This podcast is one so thoroughly reported that even Bob Hohler, the host and lead writer, is not free from blame. Blame for what exactly? Blame for looking the other way when interceding could have saved lives.

Gladiator is a podcast about how a troubled adolescent can move through the world of athletics. How the value of an athlete is only measured in what they can provide on the field of play. How it’s easy to turn away from off-the-field issues as long as they don’t become a distraction. Aaron Hernandez was an elite talent, an important piece of great teams for both the University of Florida and the New England Patriots. He was so good that they looked past his off-the-field violence to a point. For, then-Florida coach, Urban Meyer it reached a point where he forced Hernandez to go pro and for Bill Belichik and the Patriots they cut the cord when he was tagged with the murder charge.

If you came to Gladiator looking for sensationalism you will be disappointed. Instead you’ll watch as they uncover the troubled life of someone who made a ton of bad decisions, who was enabled, and caught up in several bad currents. This isn’t to remove blame from Hernandez, but there is a heavy sadness that comes from a moment in fifth episode. Using recordings from his prison phone calls we hear Hernandez talk about his prison cell. I was so used to hearing descriptions of cells being confining, being cold, being a cage, but to Aaron he spoke in quaint terms like he finally found a home. A home free from everything the outside world put in his path.

Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football, Inc. is one of the greatest achievements I’ve heard in the world of podcasts. It hints at the potential that has yet to be uncovered. There’s something about great reporting, and professionalism that this podcast brings. Each podcast ranges from 40 – 50 minutes. The last episode is set to be posted on Tuesday, November 13th.a

Length: Weekly episode ranging from 40 – 50 minutes.

Similar Podcasts: Steve McNair: Fall of a Titan, Sold In America, Crimetown, Serial

Podcast You Should Hear: The Dan Le Batard Show

Podcast: The Dan LeBatard Show
Genre: Sports, comedy
How can I listen?: Apple Podcast, Stitcher, ESPN Podcenter, Tune In

What’s it about?: The LeBatard Show is a daily sports radio show that refuses to be a sports radio show. They refuse to take sports too seriously and instead, they opt for finding the humor or interesting things in sport that no one else is talking about. They also have no fear of abandoning sports altogether and going off into who the hell knows what topic.

The more time you spend with the show the more rewarding it is. To get there you have to realize what it is not. It is not a show that talks in-depth about games before they happen, it is not a show that makes predictions or peddles in sports cliches. Instead, it is a show that makes fun of sports and everything around it for being so serious. In return, the crew refuses to take themselves too seriously and they have fun in the process.

Sometimes, I wonder what the show sounds like to the uninitiated. What do you think when you hear them talk to Tim Legler about his Halloween decorations instead of the upcoming NBA games? Or when they bring Ron Magill on to answer animal questions? Or why so many callers refer to Tim Kurkjan as Tom and no one bats an eye? If you have any of those questions it probably means that “You don’t get the show!” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t.

The show is centered around its namesake, Dan LeBatard, an award-winning journalist formerly of the Miami Herald. LeBatard is joined by co-host Jon “StuGotz” Weiner, producers Mike Ryan, Billy “Guillermo” Gill, Roy Bellamy, Chris Cote, and Allyson Turner. It is the best-produced show you’ll hear, but what makes it even better is each person has their own character and get their moments to shine (really waiting on a new Roy Top 10).

The LeBatard Show airs five days a week on ESPN radio with a local hour airing before on 790 the Ticket in Miami. All four hours are available (sans commercials, and bits with music) each afternoon for listening in podcast form. There is also a daily best-of version that I refuse to listen to because the reward of the show is hearing everything and not feeling left out when the polls come around.

If Seinfeld was the show about nothing (it wasn’t, the show on the show was but I digress), the LeBatard Show is the radio show about nothing and it’s why I love it.

Length: 4 daily podcasts ranging around 30 minutes a piece, best of podcast is about 60 minutes
Similar Podcasts: Fiyastarter Podcast, The Right Time with Bomani Jones

Podcast You Should Hear: Mogul

When I first started listening to podcasts my rotation was small. It consisted of The Sound of Young Ameria (now Bullseye), Fresh Air, Radiolab, Science Friday, and This American Life. It was 2004, and it was the brave new world for me. When I bought my 80 gig iPod classic, I intended to listen to music on it. That changed the moment I realized some of my favorite NPR shows were available to listen as well. The moment I subscribed to my first podcast became the moment my obsession began.

Fast-forward to 2017 and it is almost impossible to go to a website that doesn’t have a podcast attached. They are no longer limited to independent sources and public radio personalities. Thanks in part to the phenomenon that was Serial (and all the talk that grew from it), podcasts are now big business.

So with so many options to listen to where do you start? What should you listen to? Well, my friend, you’re in good luck because that’s what I’m here for. In this space, I will recommend a podcast series or single episode that you should check out. Are you ready? Okay, here we go.

Podcast: Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty
Genre: Audio Documentary
How Can I Listen?: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music

What’s it about?: In many ways, the story of Chris Lighty is the story of hip-hop. His career in the music industry started with his carrying crates of vinyl records for DJ Red Alert. Later he was hired by Russell Simmons’ Rush Artist Management. While his career was rising he had to make a decision to leave behind behaviors learned as a member of the Violators gang. As Chris became more of a business man he had a tremendous impact on hip-hop being the monster commercial success it became in the late 90’s and 2000’s. One of his greatest moments came when he spearheaded the historic 50 Cent deal with Vitamin Water. To those who knew Chris, he was a success, he was happy, and he was confident. Then on August 20th, 2012 everything came crashing down when Lighty committed suicide.

If you come to Mogul expecting a complete telling of the life and death of Chris Lighty you will be disappointed. With the lack of archival audio from Lighty interviews (he didn’t give many) it left a void that had to be filled otherwise. So instead of being a deep dive into Chris’ story, it became a character sketch. This sketch included anecdotes from Chris’ upbringing, stories of his conflicts with well-known figures in hip-hop, and commentary by people who knew him best. What ties it all together is the narration by Reggie “Combat Jack” Osse who speaks as a contemporary of Lighty’s who is discovering the story the same time as we are.

For some, the highlights might be the bits and pieces of hip-hop history that are shared, but the heart of the podcast is depression and how Lighty struggled in silence. Despite all of his achievements, he faced equally harsh falls and not everyone was as it seemed to those on the outside. It shows how depression isn’t an “affliction for white people,” and that someone could be suffering even though you can’t tell from the outside. It is because of this that many of his friends and family believe he was killed, and that he would never take his own life.

What really made Mogul make an impact on me was that it showed Lighty as a complex character. Where the podcast became more than just okay was when it told the story of Chris’ marriage. It was then it became apparent that Mogul wasn’t going to just be a rosy telling of Chris’ life. It showed that Chris was more than anyone depiction given by the people in his life. He was not a hero, he was a human, he was complex, and he had his virtues and failings.

It is not a perfect podcast, but I found so much that I enjoyed that the negatives did not take away. So if you have any interest in hip-hop or narrative storytelling I’d suggest you check this out.

 

Length: Three hours split over six podcasts
Similar Podcasts: Serial, S-TownCrimetown, and Stranglers