Podcast listeners’ appetite for true-crime content shows no signs of slowing down and it’s offering an opportunity for local radio stations to tell stories in new ways. Washington, DC all-news station WTOP-FM (103.5) has already had more than 2.3 million downloads to the podcast 22 Hours: An American Nightmare. It tells the story of the murder of a Washington power couple, their 10-year-old son, and their housekeeper. The family was held hostage, tortured and brutally murdered inside their own home in May 2015. WTOP reporters Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore host the series.
Since the podcast’s debut on June 10, the show has topped the Apple Podcasts charts, and has maintained its No. 3 ranking for all categories and No. 1 in-category ranking. Listeners aren’t all from the radio station’s coverage area, either. The podcast has made Apple Podcast’s charts in the U.K., Canada, and Australia as well. The 22 Hours podcast is a coproduction of WTOP-FM and PodcastOne.
“We’re no strangers to the category,” PodcastOne Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz, said. “But this is our initial foray into original, owned and distributed content, complete with derivative rights. We’ve planned this move very carefully, and will follow up with great content and second-to-none marketing resources. This is just the beginning.”
WTOP’s parent company, Hubbard Radio, took a 30% stake in PodcastOne in 2015 and during the last four years PodcastOne has marketed and distributed more than 100 podcasts from Hubbard stations.