Recent developments in Lee Boyd Malvo’s case have forged new implications for the D.C. Sniper story. As our team investigates, we present a behind-the-scenes look at the Monster podcast.


Speaker 1:                    00:02                Welcome to Monster: DC Sniper, a production of iHeartRadio and TenderfootTV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the podcast author or individuals participating in the podcast and do not represent those of iHeartMedia, TenderfootTV or their employees. Listener discretion is advised.

Speaker 2:                    00:25                Late last month, new developments broken in the DC Sniper case. The Supreme Court was set to rule on whether Lee Boyd Malvo should be resentenced in Virginia. In two past cases, the Supreme Court held that mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders is unconstitutional.

Speaker 2:                    00:44                In February, before the Supreme Court made a ruling, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a new bill into law. The law gives parole eligibility to all juvenile offenders, tried, convicted and sentenced within the adult justice system in Virginia. As a result, Malvo agreed to withdraw his appeal and the case has been dismissed by the Supreme Court. This new law means Malvo can seek parole in Virginia. These developments will have lasting implications not just on Malvo’s fate, but the fates of hundreds of others who committed felony crimes as minors in Virginia.

Speaker 2:                    01:22                For that reason, Monster: DC Sniper is taking an extra week to conduct further research, speak with more experts and to update the finale of this podcast. The main season will resume next week with episode 12, with the investigation into the snipers killings leading up to the DC attacks, including police interviews with Lee Boyd Malvo and John Muhammad.

Speaker 2:                    01:46                In the meantime, we’re happy to present this recording of a live, behind-the-scenes event from January 25, 2020. The creator’s of Monster: DC Sniper were invited to speak at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Podcast Weekend. The event was hosted by the senior executive director at SCADFILM, Leigh Seaman.

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Leigh Seaman:              02:10                Hi everybody. My name is Leigh Seaman and I have the distinct pleasure to head up the festivals and events produced by SCADFILM with an incredible support team from all of our SCAD family, over four campuses around the world, 16,000 students, over 40,000 alumni in 70 countries. SCADFILM was created so that we could take full advantage of our SCAD expertise and preeminence, and match it to the growing expertise that the industry was bringing to Atlanta and create opportunities for a collision of creative minds. And we’ve been able to do that through established festivals like our SCAD Savannah Film Festival, which has been in place over 20 years; our ATV Fest, which will be in its eighth year; and this sort of new palette of festivals, Animation Fest, Gaming Fest, and a whole year events like this one, SCAD Podcast Weekend.

Leigh Seaman:              03:02                Now, I have a question for you. When is the last time that you counted to 70 million? Our friends here today counted to 70 million in their first season. They counted almost to 70 million again and they’re about to count to more than 70 million with season three. These guys know what they are doing and they are led by Matt Frederick. Please join me in welcoming him.

Matt Frederick:             03:29                Hi everybody. My name is Matt Frederick. I am currently a lead executive producer at iHeart Podcasts. We’re here in Atlanta. We’re based in Ponce City Market. That’s where we make a lot of our shows.

Matt Frederick:             03:39                Back in 2006, I got an internship at How Stuff Works. It was back on the internet when you’re on the internet just to read articles. Do you remember that time? Does anybody remember a time when that happened? Because How Stuff Works, the whole time it had been a thing made articles. A couple of years later, we started making videos. What we tried to do is take those articles and put them into video format and it worked really well for a while. We created things like Brain Stuff and one of the shows I created called Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know.

Matt Frederick:             04:08                It was going really well, but there’s this other emerging medium called podcasts and nobody knew really what it was. But we figured, well, let’s try taking those articles and turn them into an audio format that you could just listen to instead of having to read it. And from those little experimentations from back in 2008, 2009, we created some of the biggest podcasts that exist on this planet today. Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff Mom Never Told You, and that was all through the website HowStuffWorks which became Stuff Media, the podcast arm of that website.

Matt Frederick:             04:42                And it’s so weird. We moved to Ponce City Market. We’re making all these shows and we find out there’s this amazing true crime show unlike anything anybody has ever heard before and it’s apparently being produced four floors above our office. We had no idea that was happening. It was just a small group of people. They were called TenderfootTV and we were so impressed with the content. We thought, “Okay, let’s contact these guys, Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey, let’s see what they’re up to.”

Matt Frederick:             05:10                We had a quick meeting, and just over coffee, we decided we want to work together. And if we are going to work together, what do we want to tackle? What story do we want to tell? Both teams simultaneously wanted to tell Atlanta’s missing and murdered children’s story because it was not something that was being talked about. We felt like it was a story that had been underserved and it was an underserved community in the first place. And we thought, let’s at least do our best to tell the stories of the people who went through this, who lived through this; and we created Atlanta Monster.

Speaker 5:                    05:44                Atlanta, Georgia, 1979. One by one kids are going missing with no explanation.

Speaker 6:                    05:52                Seven of the children have disappeared since March.

Speaker 7:                    05:55                A black, 13-year-old boy living in a housing project, good in school, a loner, working for extra money; and as of Thursday night, missing.

Speaker 8:                    06:03                Are you scared?

Speaker 9:                    06:04                Yes, sir.

Speaker 10:                  06:05                Altogether nine children between the ages of seven and 14 have disappeared in the last year.

Speaker 11:                  06:10                People from outside see this in the context of what’s happening to black people across the country.

Speaker 12:                  06:16                Missing children have become priority number one at APD.

Speaker 13:                  06:19                We cannot, as a community, as a city, carry on business as usual.

Speaker 15:                  06:23                I want the people of Atlanta and the nation to know that this administration is totally colorblind.

Speaker 5:                    06:31                From the producers of Up and Vanished and HowStuffWorks, we present an all new podcast, Atlanta Monster.

Matt Frederick:             06:42                Officially, according to the list, there were 23 children, five adults who were killed from 1979 to 1981. The picture there is a mugshot of Wayne Williams, the man who is still in jail right now. He was convicted of killing two adults, and we spoke with him extensively for this show.

Matt Frederick:             06:59                I don’t know if you guys realize this. There are so many people in this city that believed that man killed absolutely zero people. It was mind-blowing to us to know how many people held that as an opinion. We thought it was worth talking to him to see what he had to say. It premiered in January 2018.

Matt Frederick:             07:17                And again, this is Stuff Media at that time. We get acquired by iHeartRadio, the end of 2018. We loved the process. We loved the style and we wanted to work again with TenderfootTV. We’re going to find another time when terror was running rampant in the city, when just going about your daily life was a problem, and we looked to San Francisco right at the turn of the Summer of Love, 1968, 196. There was what was believed to be a man who was killing young people in their cars at Lover’s Lanes. This person was writing letters to the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers. He had captured a city and he had put fear in the hearts of everyone living in the entire area from Napa Valley to Vallejo to San Francisco.

Speaker 16:                  08:04                In the 70s, as it was happening, a lot of us probably thought, “Gee, there’s a lot going on.” But looking back at a decade of violence, it was just crazy. It was a crazy time.

Speaker 17:                  08:15                Most serial killers don’t make any effort to involve media or investigators. They’re very secretive. They don’t want attention. They almost want their crimes to go unnoticed. But the idea of committing a crime and then calling up the police and bragging about it, that’s a whole nother level of terror.

Speaker 18:                  08:34                A man who wore a medieval-style executioner’s hood…

Speaker 19:                  08:37                Who has baffled the police and baffled the media.

Speaker 20:                  08:40                He seems to crave publicity. He’s sent letters and cryptograms to newspapers and the police.

Speaker 21:                  08:44                The subject stated, “I want to report a murder. No, a double murder. I did it.”

Speaker 16:                  08:51                Here we are 50 years after the first Zodiac killing. In today’s world of forensics, old cases are being solved. We’re talking about probably the most famous cold case in the last century or so in terms of its drama and being unsolved. Who doesn’t want to know how it turns out?

Speaker 22:                  09:11                Dear Editor,

Speaker 22:                  09:12                This is the Zodiac speaking. If you do not print this cipher by the afternoon of Friday, 1st of August, I will go on a kill rampage Friday night. I will cruise around all weekend killing lone people in the night, then move on to kill again. The best part of it is that when I die, I’ll be reborn in paradise and all that I have killed will become my slaves.

Speaker 17:                  09:40                From iHeartRadio, HowStuffWorks and Tenderfoot TV. This is Monster: The Zodiac Killer.

Matt Frederick:             09:50                That impression of the Zodiac Killer, that was an actual letter that was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle. Hearing it in that way, I don’t know if it has the same effect on you. I hope it does. That’s kind of the point of it, but it really is spine tingling to me to know that someone actually wrote that and felt that. He wanted everybody else to feel that way. It kind of just fits that title, doesn’t it? Monster, whoever that was.

Matt Frederick:             10:11                So here’s the deal. We are back with the third iteration of the Monster series. We went from 1979-81, all the way back to ’68, ’69. This year. We’re going to 2002, to a time right after 9/11 to a time when the country was in fear already and someone came along and struck fear in the hearts of all of us again. We’re going to tell you all about it tonight because tonight we have the creators of the third iteration. It is called Monster: DC Sniper. Tonight, we have the host Tony Harris, and we have two of the producers, Trevor Young and Benjamin Kuebrich.

Matt Frederick:             10:47                And guys if you’d like to join me on stage, come on up. You’ve got a Trevor Young. This is Ben Kuebrich. These guys are the writers and really the backbone, the creators of this show. So Ben, I want to pose this to you. Can you tell us kind of a basic overview of the case and how you came to learn all the information about it?

Ben Kuebrich:               11:08                One thing just to start, so I actually, I grew up in Northern Virginia. I was a high school student when all this stuff was going on. But then in starting to research it, I realized even though I was there at the time and getting all that local news and stuff, I realized there is so much about this case that either I never knew or completely forgot about. And that was one of the reasons I wanted to tell this story is I felt like, “Well, if I don’t know any of this stuff, then I don’t think many people do.”

Ben Kuebrich:               11:34                October 2, 2002, one person was shot. The next day, five people are shot. They’re just going about their everyday lives. A guy mowing a lawn, people filling up their cars with gas, things like that. They seem to have no connection to one another, but when they analyze the bullets, they realized that they’re all coming from the same rifle. There’s someone out there kind of shooting people indiscriminately and it’s kind of like, “Now what do you do?” No one knows, is it terrorists? Is it a serial killer? What’s going on?

Ben Kuebrich:               12:04                It’s a very suburban area. Immediately everyone was worried about their kids. A couple of days later there’s a shooting at a middle school. Outside that middle school, they find a tarot card with a cryptic note written on it, and kind of the story just gets crazier and crazier.

Ben Kuebrich:               12:21                When I was doing the research, one of the things is it seems like there’s a lot of misinformation out there. There are some good books written about it that kind of cover narrow angles, some kind of made-for-TV documentaries, but it felt like no one had really put everything in one place or tried to really give a feel of what it was like to live through that. That’s the thing that monster does really well is putting people into a time and a place, and kind of trying to make our listeners feel what it must have been like to go through that.

Matt Frederick:             12:52                So Trevor, you tracked down so many people and talked with them. Tell us the different perspectives that we’re actually hearing from in this show.

Trevor Young:               13:00                Off the bat, you can expect to hear anywhere from 40 to 50 people in this podcast. We’ve, over the last six to nine months, interviewed just an insane amount of people. But I think this was such a big story that affected so many people that really that’s only a tiny fraction of the people we could interview, right?

Trevor Young:               13:18                Dr. Caroline Namrow was a pediatrician. She was just going about her day. She was dropping her kids off at school and she stopped to get gas on October 3rd, and she made eye contact with a man and didn’t really think anything of it. Then all of a sudden she hears a pop and the man goes down on her car bleeding and says, “Call the cops.” She tries to resuscitate this man. She’s calling the police. You heard her on the 911 call in that teaser and she’s doing, I think, what all of us would do. She’s just kind of reacting. She’s frankly kind of freaking out.

Trevor Young:               13:54                I don’t know how I would react. I don’t even know if I could call 911. She told us her medical training kicked in and she was able to go into gear and really try and help this person. And it’s a phenomenal story to hear her tell it and it’s one of the first things you hear in the podcast. There’s a lot of incredible stories like that and I think what we really want to do is really tell them to their full extent to really let you know the full story of what happened with each and every one of these people from every perspective.

Matt Frederick:             14:33                We’re speaking with witnesses, we’re speaking with victims’ families, were speaking with the law enforcement officials from all of the varying organizations that were a part of this massive manhunt. And one of the people that was there at that time was this award-winning journalist named Tony Harris. You have been in television for a long time, my friend.

Tony Harris:                  14:53                Stop, stop. Stop right there.

Matt Frederick:             14:56                When is the first time?

Tony Harris:                  14:57                Oh my goodness.

Matt Frederick:             14:57                Am I not allowed to-

Tony Harris:                  14:58                No [crosstalk 00:00:14:59].

Matt Frederick:             14:59                When was your first TV gig, for real?

Tony Harris:                  15:01                My first TV gig was, oh, ’82.

Matt Frederick:             15:06                ’82, the first time you were on television?

Tony Harris:                  15:07                1982, yeah, yeah.

Matt Frederick:             15:09                And you have been working consistently-

Tony Harris:                  15:10                Yeah.

Matt Frederick:             15:11                … this whole time?

Tony Harris:                  15:12                Knock wood. Knock wood. Yeah.

Matt Frederick:             15:13                I just want to know why are you taking all of your TV talents and putting them into a podcast?

Tony Harris:                  15:19                Oh, that’s easy. Look when you sign up for this role as a journalist, what you’re saying to anyone who will listen to you is that you want to tell amazing stories. You want to dig deep and you want to share those stories. You want to investigate, you want to uncover and you want to report. That’s what you sign up for when you say you be a journalist, and that’s what I did forever ago. And once you do that, you want to find as many venues as possible to tell amazing stories. So sure, I’ve done that work at CNN, I did that work for Al Jazeera in Doha, and then again in New York. I have been really fortunate to cover amazing stories, everything from the Southeast Asia tsunami to Katrina to the Arab Spring.

Tony Harris:                  16:10                And this is an opportunity that I think is really special now. This world that you guys have created gives journalists like me an opportunity to dig, to do the deep dive. This is a really deep dive, and I mean I think that’s important. That’s an important point to make here. It’s not a situation that you see a lot in television news where you got a 15-second sound bite from someone. You get an opportunity to actually hear someone explain not just the moment, but what they were feeling and what they were going through emotionally in that moment.

Tony Harris:                  16:42                That’s why I feel blessed to have this opportunity to tell this story that I have kind of intimate knowledge of. You remember this story, right? I mean, you remember this? I just need to feel some energy back from the audience. You do remember this story, right? This is 2002 and, wow, I was working in Baltimore as a news anchor for the Fox affiliate there. And on the second, I remember us getting a call in our newsroom about a shooting in Montgomery County, which was odd and weird because, as was mentioned, Montgomery County is kind of this pristine community, high net worth county in Maryland. That would have led our newscast that night. And the next day, all hell broke loose. Five people killed on the third.

Tony Harris:                  17:30                And at that point, as my news brain was working at that time, I knew we had a massive story and not enough people. I’m thinking resources to cover the story. I’m thinking about how do we get the information to people. We weren’t getting anything from police. Everyone was afraid that it was terrorism, and we just didn’t have enough resources to cover the story. And I don’t know at some point during the 23 days of panic and hell, I could remember sort of, wait a minute, you’re trying to figure out, because as an anchor you’re getting people on who are telling the story.

Tony Harris:                  18:04                And I think, in many cases, we might’ve been part of the problem in telling the story because we became as fixated as anyone with the idea of the white van. You remember the white panel truck, remember that? How that sort of dominated the story? And then the next thing was all of the leaks that we were reporting on and how some of those leaks were coming from investigators close to the case.

Tony Harris:                  18:27                So you’re just conflicted and you’re wondering if you’re doing a service to the public. But we have people, viewers who are clamoring to know everything there is to know about this case, and so you’re feeling conflicted and everything else. And I’m still thinking as an anchor, as a reporter trying to get information at some point, and I don’t know when. At some point, I started to think like a human being and I started to think about the people who had been killed, their lives, their families.

Tony Harris:                  19:03                And then it must’ve been around the time when Iran Brown, 13-year old kid at Tasker Middle School, shot. [Crosstalk 00:19:10] Yeah, that’s right. He survived. That’s right. He survived at Tasker Middle School. And I think it was shortly, or certainly in that moment, I began to stop thinking about this purely as a story with all the adrenaline that goes along with being a reporter or anchor on a huge story with national and international interest, and I started to think about myself as a father of two young children. And the story kind of changes for me at that point.

Matt Frederick:             19:40                There are two routes I want to go with that statement, Tony. The first one is how making a show like this affects you when you are speaking to somebody like this? Then you’re perhaps in an editing bay and listening to it over and over again, and really trying to pull out the truth and the emotion in something horrific that you’re listening to. How has that affected you guys? Has it affected you guys at all or how do you think about it?

Trevor Young:               20:06                Well, I think all or most of us here come from a journalism background, and I think when you work in journalism for so many years you kind of in a way learn how to harden yourself when you’re talking and hearing and dealing with these stories. When you go into this, when you’re in the moment, you’re talking to this person, you’re doing two things. You’re you’re, one, trying to get the story, get the information, really like talk with this person, empathize with them. But at the end of the day, also you are trying to connect with them on an emotional level.

Trevor Young:               20:37                And I think in the podcasting world, we’re trying to do that more over longer periods of time and it’s harder to not let that affect you. It’s hard not to feel more emotionally invested in these people when you are talking with them on multiple occasions, sometimes for hours at a time. These are not like TV interviews that you see on a talk show. These are people that when you leave the room with them or you get off the phone with them, you feel like you know each other and there’s a piece of each other that you’ve shared. That you are probably going to remember forever and you can’t take back.

Trevor Young:               21:13                And I personally have walked away from a lot of interviews, I don’t want to say shaken, but feeling like I had experienced something myself that somebody had explained to me. Because they were so open with me, because they went to so much detail, because they gave me something so vivid, I almost felt like I had been there. And it’s good for us to hear that stuff because then we know we have something powerful.

Matt Frederick:             21:40                One of them major purposes of the shows is to learn something from the experience of all of the people that have gone through all of these things. People who have been on the side of the law chasing somebody down or on the wrong side of a gun. It’s basic storytelling stuff, but it’s also very important to us, I think, when we’re making a show like this, looking at the big picture and thinking about ourselves.

Matt Frederick:             22:05                Then I want to jump to you really quickly because one of the ways we do that is to kind of time travel in these shows and play archival footage from news organizations. Talk to me about how we’re using archival footage in this and how that’s helping to shape the story, but it’s also telling us some things about what was going on between law enforcement and the media.

Ben Kuebrich:               22:27                This is kind of an interesting case from an archival perspective because it turned into a national news story. I mean, you have George W. Bush talking about it. It’s covered by all of this stations, and there are kind of these massive trials that happened afterwards where things like the 911 calls got entered into that public record. So we have a lot of kind of primary documents of kind of what was going on at that time, how people thought about it. People calling in to call in radio shows to express their fears and their concerns. We really had a ton of stuff to work with and tried to incorporate that kind of whenever we could.

Ben Kuebrich:               23:09                In one of our recent episodes, there was kind of a particularly harrowing 911 call that we had a big internal debate about whether to use and how much to use. And there’s kind of this balance of, you want to respect the people that went through these things, but it’s also something that really happened. And so kind of to accurately present what was going on, do you want to kind of show that in its kind of most dark and brutal fashion?

Matt Frederick:             23:44                There was tension occurring between the media and law enforcement about what information should be put out into the public. This is what I want to learn from you, Tony. From the newsperson’s, the journalist’s perspective, what do you think about, if information gets leaked to you, that is really important for people’s understanding about this case, even though you know it’s important to the case themselves?

Tony Harris:                  24:07                Look, are you going to hinder the investigation? I was at CNN when Jazeera got the Al-Qaida tapes, and there was a lot of back and forth, and wringing of hands, and a lot of criticism from inside our own building of Jazeera for going with those tapes. When the reality is, if we had gotten the tapes, we would have run those tapes, right?

Tony Harris:                  24:29                And so if you get information like that, that you know is really hot and really provocative, what do you do with it? Well, there’s an editorial process. We all know that. You just described an editorial process. I think you’ve got to weigh… It’s the old question of the public’s right to know, right? And the extent to which sharing that information might hinder an investigation.

Tony Harris:                  24:51                I think there are there circumstances where during the case we got it wrong. Channel nine and the Washington Post should not have gone with the information, in my opinion, on the tarot card. The reason they did is the fact that the writing on the tarot card essentially eliminated the thought that this was foreign terrorism, right? Was the reason, I believe, those news organizations decided to go with that.

Tony Harris:                  25:21                I think it’s always the sort of balancing act. And there are serious editorial meetings about this, and I think there are some cases where we absolutely got it wrong. We didn’t challenge in the way that we should have the whole idea of the white panel truck. So because you’ve been here today and you’ve been hearing us talk about this, when you go outside today and head home, all you’re going to see are white panel trucks. That’s all you’re going to see. And so I suppose that’s the way I feel about it. We got a lot of things wrong. We should have questioned more closely. We should have pushed back a lot more aggressively. But we were operating at a moment when this nation was scared shitless. Can I say that? I just did.

Matt Frederick:             26:07                Oh, we just a no, is that absolutely not. Tony. Tony, you have to leave now. Oh, there they are coming to get you, Tony.

Trevor Young:               26:12                Could I add something to that?

Matt Frederick:             26:15                Yeah, please.

Trevor Young:               26:16                There was another interesting element to the way the media and the investigation was interacting. And Ben, maybe you can help me with this. The snipers, the tarot card was one of their kind of communications, but there were all these other communications as well. All these demands for money, all these demands for police to say certain things publicly, so both the snipers and the investigation ended up using the media as their own kind of megaphones. They were kind of talking through the media at each other because they weren’t interacting directly, the investigators and the snipers. For the most part, there were a few phone calls. But for the most part, in a big sense, they were really using press conferences and newscasts to get information out both sides.

Ben Kuebrich:               27:01                And that kind of goes into the archival thing. So then you have actually these press conferences of the chief of police for Montgomery County communicating to the snipers and kind of none of their reporters or the public at home really knows what’s going on. It’s kind of these coded, cryptic messages that are responding to the messages from the snipers. It really was just kind of this very bizarre scenario where it was kind of hard for the media to know how to cover it, how much to cover it.

Tony Harris:                  27:33                Yeah, but then that doesn’t… And you’re not making this point, but I will. It doesn’t explain away the irresponsibility, in my opinion, of local television stations, national networks, putting every Tom, Dick and Harry on who claims to be a law enforcement expert just doing rank speculation; and that continues today. That’s kind of a pet peeve of mine, folks who are not a part of the investigation.

Matt Frederick:             28:12                We’re going to take some questions. Is anybody out there have any questions? Because if you don’t, I’ll keep asking them.

Leigh Seaman:              28:18                I have a question about your video trailers. As a podcast you, it’s strictly audio, but you’ve created these incredible video trailers. Can you talk a little bit about the benefit of that and why you would want [crosstalk 00:28:33].

Tony Harris:                  28:34                That’s a great question. I want to hear this answer.

Matt Frederick:             28:35                Okay. You want me to just keep answering these? Okay, cool. Video trailers, I think, are very, very beneficial for any podcast and I think mostly what we use it for social. That’s one of the major aspects is just being able to put something on, say Instagram or some other platform, that you can watch and get people excited about, especially if you’re telling a story that’s already exciting just inherently. But if you can show something that’s exciting, that can only make your show better and make your audience more interested.

Matt Frederick:             29:04                In our case, we’re working with TenderfootTV, guys who came from video production. I have a video production degree, so we would get together and make these pretty, I think, pretty great little video trailers.

Matt Frederick:             29:16                The other reason that you want a video trailer, I think especially if you think your story is good enough to translate into other mediums. One of the big things that’s happening with podcast now is that TV is very interested. TV producers across the planet are interested in taking your podcasts and trying to turn it into a television show.

Tony Harris:                  29:35                You’ve done all the work.

Matt Frederick:             29:36                Exactly. You’ve got the story, you’ve had the pre-production. You’ve got everything. You’ve got interviews, you’ve got all the people that you to get on camera. It’s laid out for you. And as a TV executive, that’s not me, but as some TV executive out there, I can imagine it being very great if you walk in with essentially a sizzle reel.

Tony Harris:                  29:53                So you will hear this podcast and I guarantee you, you will think, “Wow, that could be on television today.”

Matt Frederick:             30:00                And this is what I wanted to get into before we switched over. It’s exactly that. The way that you guys use music and the editing style and the way you cut to and from a commercial, and the cliffhangers and all of that, it gets me so pumped and excited and scared and sad.

Matt Frederick:             30:17                Episode two of this show-

Tony Harris:                  30:19                I love it.

Matt Frederick:             30:20                … I cry every time I listen to that episode. It moves me in the way a really great HBO show or some other television show does. And it’s because of the music, because of the stories, the way you guys are putting it together. And there’s this voice that keeps talking to you-

Tony Harris:                  30:34                Whatever, man.

Matt Frederick:             30:35                … It’s just so smooth and awesome.

Tony Harris:                  30:37                Whatever, man. I think I would add to that is that I’ve been making films and I’ve had a television show on Discovery ID, so I’ve been in this true crime space for four, almost five years now. And what these guys are doing in their storytelling rivals anything that I’ve been connected to in true crime. I don’t get an opportunity often to say really nice things about these guys in front of a room of people, but they are that good at what they do. And if you haven’t listened to it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you listen.

Trevor Young:               31:14                Thank you.

Ben Kuebrich:               31:15                And going back to the kind of music for a second, I think one of the interesting things about Atlanta Monster and the Monster series, and I guess Up and Vanished too, it’s one of the first kind of big podcasts that didn’t come out directly from public radio. Like Serial, Sarah Koenig’s, was on This American Life. A lot of people making podcasts kind of came from that background. I think this was one of the first podcast series to kind of be made by someone who really had more of a TV aesthetic, and that goes into the way you cut things, the way you use music. And we try to keep the journalism, we try to keep that same rigor, but maybe the way things are timed and spaced in the musical cues are a little bit more similar to a TV documentary than a standard public radio story or something.

Trevor Young:               32:07                Well, and they’re not here tonight, but I think we owe a lot of that to TenderfootTV.

Matt Frederick:             32:11                Absolutely.

Trevor Young:               32:12                Frankly, invented a lot of that model. They came from kind of a documentary-producing background. They kind of brought that to podcasting with Up and Vanished and then Atlanta Monster. I mean, they have taught us a lot how to do that.

Ben Kuebrich:               32:24                We talk about music a lot and we should shut out MAVS, Makeup and Vanity Set, who does all of this soundtracks and I think he’s really another team member. And I think that’s also kind of a unique thing to kind of have one person doing the soundtrack. And we go back and forth about what we want and he sends us stuff that’s super inspiring, and that’s a big part of our process.

Trevor Young:               32:47                Yeah.

Matt Frederick:             32:48                Those guys, they make such exciting content. And really what we’re trying to do is… You hit it on the head. We are trying to balance the excitement that they bring with this journalism murder, and I think that’s what we are achieving this season more than we have ever before. We’re going to do something here. We’re going to play this quick clip. This is kind of an example of the style, really using music, using a cliffhanger to get you excited about wanting to listen to either the rest of the show or the next episode, so here we go.

Speaker 2:                    33:20                Next time on Monster: DC Sniper.

Speaker 28:                  33:24                I need an ambulance right here. A guy came out from behind the store and saw shot Paul Laruffa and-

Paul Laruffa:                 33:29                Hurry up. I’m bleeding.

Speaker 28:                  33:29                … and he’s bleeding.

Paul Laruffa:                 33:33                The pressure of the blood inside me was collapsing my lungs.

Speaker 30:                  33:40                He might say, “I shot them all.” He might say, “My daddy drove and I shot because I was the smallest and I could fit back there.”

Speaker 31:                  33:46                Then later they told me, “Oh, they found you. John sent Lee to your door pretending to be a salesperson.”

Speaker 32:                  33:55                [inaudible 00:33:55] find me.

Speaker 33:                  33:59                Have you been shot? Somebody shot you?

Speaker 32:                  34:01                Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 31:                  34:03                He said, “So don’t get this twisted. Don’t believe that $10 million madness. Mm-mm (negative), they there to kill you.”

Speaker 34:                  34:12                That said, Malvo has talked about Mohammad having a plan to go create a utopian society in Canada.

Matt Frederick:             34:22                There you go. Okay.

Leigh Seaman:              34:24                Thank you, guys. Thank you so much. Everybody is going to download DC Sniper. If you haven’t done Zodiac killer or Atlanta Monster, download that one too. Thank you to the guys from iHeart and thank you to all of you for making our first SCAD podcast weekend. It won’t be the last. Watch out. It was a success and we appreciate your contribution to that.

Leigh Seaman:              34:47       has all the information you need about upcoming events that we’ll be doing. There is a newsletter you can sign up for that. You can also stop by to learn more about everything that SCAD produces here and in Savannah. We have a great fashion museum called SCAD FASH. We have events throughout the year and we really hope that we’ll see more of you at them. Thank you and good night.

Speaker 1:                    35:12                Monster: DC Sniper is a 15-episode podcast, hosted by Tony Harris and produced by iHeartRadio and TenderfootTV. Matt Frederick and Alex Williams are executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio alongside producers Trevor Young, Ben Kuebrich and Josh Thane. Payne Lindsey and Donald Albright are executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot TV alongside producers, Meredith Stedman and Christina Dana. Original music is by Makeup and Vanity Set.

Speaker 1:                    35:42                If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the first two seasons, Atlanta Monster and Monster: The Zodiac Killer. If you have questions or comments, email us at or you can call us at 1-833-285-6667. Thanks for listening.