John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.
About the Show
S-Town is a podcast from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed, about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, and the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.
Brian, a longtime This American Life producer, started reporting this story more than three years before it aired, when he got an email from John with the subject line “John B McLemore lives in Shittown Alabama.”
Brian Reed is the senior producer of the public radio show and podcast This American Life. In his seven years with the show, he has created some of the program's 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, which earned him a Peabody Award.
Julie Snyder has been the guiding force behind two of the most successful ventures in audio broadcasting: she is the co-creator of the podcast Serial, which debuted in October 2014 and has been downloaded more than 200 million times, making it the most listened-to podcast in history. Before that, for many years, she was the senior producer of This American Life, which is heard by more than 4 million listeners each week.
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Daniel Hart, a performer and composer from Dallas, Texas, composed the S-Town theme. He has toured and recorded with St. Vincent, the Polyphonic Spree, Broken Social Scene, Other Lives, and many more. For the past five years, Daniel has been composing music for film and TV, including Disney’s Pete’s Dragon and the documentary Eating Animals. Daniel and his band, Dark Rooms, are currently finishing their second album.
Matt McGinley is the drummer and a co-founder of the band Gym Class Heroes, as well as a contributing music producer for This American Life.
Helado Negro is the music and performance alias of Roberto Carlos Lange. His compositions are made using computers, voice, and field recordings. Raised in South Florida, Roberto sings in English and Spanish and infuses his music with his parents’ Ecuadorian culture of boleros, baladas, and Caribbean dance music. Pitchfork gave his album Private Energy 2016 an 8.1 and praised his song “It’s My Brown Skin” as a “Best New Track” in October 2016.
Trey Pollard is a musician and composer and a co-owner of Spacebomb in Richmond, Va. He works as a performer, arranger, and musical director with such artists as Matthew E. White, the Waterboys, Helado Negro, Foxygen, and Cocoon, and for labels including Columbia Records, Universal Records, Jagjaguwar, and Domino Records.
Additional Credit: Christina Azarian
Song at the End of Each Chapter: “A Rose for Emily,” The Zombies