Have You Listened To The S-Town Podcast? Get Ready For A Ride

2121 days ago.

S-Town Podcast Starts With A Murder And Goes From There

Have you listened to S-Town yet? It’s the latest podcast from Serial and This American Life and should probably be the subject of your next binge session.

Some central questions lie at the heart of the podcast.

Who is John B. McLemore? What is really going on in Woodstock, Alabama? Is a murder being covered up?

Odds are, more than a couple of your friends are already looking for answers to those questions.  S-Town hit 10 million downloads less than a week after its release. In fact, it took just four days to hit that mark.

S-Town podcast
S-Town is the newest podcast from the people behind Serial and This American Life.

Your guide on the roller coaster ride that is S-Town is Brian Reed, who is the senior producer of This American Life. The podcast features several people behind the scenes who previously brought us the mega-popular Serial podcast. Julie Snyder co-created Serial and serves as the executive producer here.

Listening to S-Town, you’ll recognize one name immediately in the list of people thanked. Sarah Koenig created Serial with Snyder and served as the host in the telling of Hae Min Lee’s murder and Adnan Syed’s arrest. Her work on Serial led to a new trial for Adnan Syed, which should take place this summer.

This latest adventure for your ears begins with an email that showed up in Reed’s inbox back in 2012. The subject of that email introduces us to the main character, John.

John B. McLemore lives in Shittown, Alabama.

John B McLemore of S-Town (Woodstock, Alabama)
John B McLemore of S-Town (Woodstock, Alabama) Link

That email leads to more emails between Reed and McLemore. Which leads to phone calls between the pair. Which leads to Reed taking multiple trips to Woodstock, Alabama, aka “Shittown”, where McLemore lives with his elderly mother on a sprawling estate perfect for this story.

In his initial email McLemore tells Reed that he believes a member of a wealthy Woodstock family has committed a murder and it is being covered up.

But what really happened? Did anyone really die? Will anyone die during this ride? Who is John B. McLemore?

Telling you any more of the story could ruin the ride. Don’t type “John B.  McLemore” into Google. Don’t look for discussions on Reddit.

Just listen to Chapter I of S-Town below.


Have you already listened to all seven chapters? Here are some links for you to explore.

The people of the internet found John’s maze.

The think pieces have started to hit the internet. Some are probably written by Woodstock, Alababama haters and some are probably just written for clicks.

The Federalist simply says S-Town goes too far.

Maaza Mengiste writes in Rolling Stone that the podcast “fails black listeners.”

Brian Reed talked to Pacific Standard about how he went about reporting this story.

Want to put faces to the names of the various characters in S-Town? Here you go.

What is Mad Hatter Disease?

John B. McLemore posted around the internet a lot, often under the pseudonym Hiruit Nguyse. He also had a YouTube profile, but didn’t appear to ever post videos featuring himself.

How to build an Astrolabe.

What do the people of Bibb County, Alabama remember about the world famous clock restorer?

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Ryan is a weird dude. He doesn't cook, yet owns a plethora of kitchen gadgets. He rationalized buying a SodaStream while unemployed. He counts Step Up 2: The Streets as one of his favorite movies along with Footloose, Rent, Grease and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. He loves Mizzou but only wants them in the SEC so he can tailgate in Nashville. He owns a ShakeWeight and AbLounger, but still loves him some John Donut and Billie's Fine Foods. You can get more of Ryan at iLoveSoulard.com or just check the stool on the far end of the bar at iTap in Soulard.

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