WRAL Raleigh, N.C., has released a new podcast that re-examines the murder of James Jordan, father of basketball star Michael Jordan. “The intimacy of audio allows us to take listeners deeply into the lives of all the central characters in this real life tragedy,” says Shelly Leslie, head of streaming and podcasting for the station’s owner Capitol Broadcasting.
WRAL, Capitol Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., has released a new podcast that re-examines the murder of James Jordan, father of legendary basketball star Michael Jordan, who played at the University of North Carolina.
Follow the Truth is a 10-part podcast series that looks into the case against of Daniel Green, the man who was convicted of the killing.
The podcast is a follow-up to Moment of Truth, a five-part docuseries streaming on IMDB TV and Amazon Prime.
“The podcast is the rest of the story,” says Shelly Leslie, head of streaming and podcasting for Capitol Broadcasting, who serves as executive producer on both projects.
“The intimacy of audio allows us to take listeners deeply into the lives of all the central characters in this real-life tragedy,” she says.
On July 23, 1993, the elder Jordan was murdered in Lumberton, N.C.
Daniel Green was convicted of felony murder based almost exclusively on the testimony of co-defendant Larry Demery, who took a plea deal in exchange for identifying Green as the triggerman. Both men are currently serving life sentences. Green has maintained his innocence in the killing.
Leslie says the docuseries — and now the podcast — is an exploration by Capitol Broadcasting to see if the two media can lead the company to new audiences and revenue.
She says the question underwriting these series is “can we produce quality docuseries and podcasts of interests on a national level and get them distributed outside of our market.”
But getting a docuseries like Moment of Truth licensed via a free streaming service like IMDB TV and Amazon Prime takes connections and partnerships.
“You can’t just call up Amazon and say we produced this docuseries we think is great,” Leslie says. “The streaming business is a very preferred vendor situation.”
That said, once you’re a known entity who has delivered the finished product on schedule, you’re in a great “position to do it again,” Leslie says.
The key for WRAL to producing the docuseries, Moment of Truth and the podcast, Follow the Truth, was its library of archived footage, dating back to the early 1970s and beyond, Leslie says. “We could tell that story in a way that nobody had ever attempted to tell it.”
Monetizing this archived footage was one of the goals of both the docuseries and podcast, she says. “Lots of TV stations are sitting on these huge archives.”
But being able to develop large-scale projects using it depends on being able to retrieve that archival content, she says.
Leslie is quick to point out vast differences between the video documentary and podcast. “What ends up being a two-minute or a four-minute segment in a docuseries can be 30 minutes in a podcast.”
The podcast also has a different host, Amanda Lamb, “who has a long correspondence with Daniel Green from prison over a 10-, 12-year period,” Leslie says.
Also, there are sources in the podcast who have never spoken publicly about the murder case before.
The beauty of producing the podcasts is not being bound by the constraints of time, Leslie says. Some episodes are 22 minutes, others 45 minutes.
“You can let the story decide how long it needs to be,” she says.
But one of the best advantages of doing podcasts versus a docuseries is that you can self-publish, Leslie says. “In the docuseries world, we need a partner to get it beyond our state.”
“In podcasting, we have self-published on all platforms, using all of our company assets to promote the show,” she says.
Leslie notes the company already has plans for its next podcast, What Remains, about forensic scientists and true crime.
“It’s all a big, grand experiment, which is fun,” she says.
NOTE: Follow the Truth debuted at #2 on Chartable’s Global & US True Crime Trending charts and at #5 on All Podcasts.
“To have this show reaching audiences all over the world after just a few weeks proves the power of the medium, but it also demonstrates a desire for exceptional journalism with a purpose,” Leslie says.
“That’s what we’re doing with the WRAL brand.”
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