Brian Reed, co-creator of the groundbreaking podcast S-Town, will be hosting a night at Theatre Royal Drury Lane later his month, discussing how the podcast came about and how it became such a phenomenon.
Want to know more about the podcast? Look no further. Here we explain all – and highlight why fans of the medium can’t afford to miss this unique evening.
What is S-Town?
In 2014, true-crime podcast Serial changed the podcasting template forever. A single story, told week-by-week, it made stars of its host Sarah Koenig and the real-life people involved in the case it was investigating: Hae Min Lee, a teenage girl, who had been murdered in the January of 1999, and Adnan Syed, her ex-boyfriend, who had long been convicted of killing her but maintained his innocence.
In it’s wake, Serial gave way to countless copycat podcasts, all searching for listeners, subscribers and followers; for the hit’s producers, however – who also make the award-winning podcast This American Life – their next project saw them to go back to basics, and S-Town was born.
As S-Town’s executive producer Julie Snyder told Wired magazine in March of this year, while Serial experimented with using television as a model for podcasting (the idea being that people would come back weekly to “tune in”), S-Town would look to novels for inspiration, with all “chapters” being available from the launch date, so listeners could subscribe and immerse themselves in the world of the story.
What’s the podcast about?
Brian Reed, the host and co-creator of S-Town, spent more than three years reporting and writing the story, which began when a man named John B McLemore asked him to investigate an alleged murder in his small Alabama town.
McLemore, who despises his hometown, hopes the investigation will do something to change it; but then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and the unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.
The series won widespread popular and critical acclaim for elevating audio storytelling into the realm of great literature.
It was downloaded 40 million times in its first month, setting a new record in podcasting, and is still the No.1 podcast on iTunes.
Who is Brian Reed?
As senior producer of This American Life, Reed has created some of its most ambitious stories, including The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra, an investigation into the Federal Reserve’s supervision of Goldman Sachs; Cops See It Differently, a nuanced look at the relationship between African Americans and the police; Abdi and the Golden Ticket, which follows a Somali refugee desperately trying to get to America; and What Happened at Dos Erres, the story of a massacre in Guatemala and its reverberations decades later.
Reed has also investigated multiple FBI operations, as well as produced stories about strange coincidences and car salesmen on Long Island and a turkey who terrorised a neighbourhood before getting murdered by police. His journalism has helped an immigrant gain asylum in the US and prompted a Senate Committee to grill the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
What will happen on the night?
In this thrilling and dynamic spoken word event, Reed will take to the floor to explain how S-Town evolved into the behemoth of podcasting that it has become, and tell stories form his varied career as a producer, writer and interviewer at This American Life. Part conversation, part Q&A, audience members will have the opportunity to ask Brian burning questions and find out more about the intriguing world of S-Town.
Tickets for Brian Reed on Creating S-Town: A New Way to Tell a Story are on sale now. Get yours via Ticketmaster.co.uk.