Q&A: Local True Crime Podcaster on Popularity of the Genre

Nina Innsted of the Already Gone podcast discusses why she thinks true crime is such an obsession
Photograph courtesy of the Already Gone Podcast

True crime is something very few are strangers to nowadays. While the genre has been around for decades, the last few years have been marked by a growing number of true crime podcasts, television shows, and films, such as Netflix’s hugely popular series Making a Murderer and the Serial podcast from This American Life. Even Apple has teamed up with Reese Witherspoon to produce a true crime series starring Octavia Spencer, which examines American’s obsession with the genre.

Locally, Nina Innsted, host and writer of Already Gone, has turned an interest in true crime into a popular podcast that has an average of 100,000 plays per episode. The Oakland County native has long had an interest in true crime. She remembers when she was 5 years old, the Oakland County Child Killer snatched two of his victims a half-mile away from her grandparent’s Berkley home.

After listening to true crime podcasts such as The Generation Why Podcast and Casefile True Crime, Innsted decided to create her own podcast focusing on Michigan murders, missing persons, and unsolved cases. The podcaster sat down with Hour Detroit to talk about how she got started and society’s obsession with true crime.

Hour Detroit: Do you think [The Oakland County Child Killer is] what sparked your interest in true crime?

Innsted: The case has always been an interest to me and I think that’s true for a lot of people who grew up in Oakland County, but I’ve always been interested in stuff that was a little left of center.

You focus mostly on Michigan?

I’ve lived here my entire and I’m still learning about the area. On Mad Men, they are trying to land General Motors as a company account and they did not present the automotive executives in a flattering light. It got me thinking, what do we look like and how do people see the Detroit area? … I think there are a lot of misconceptions about our area. … I think I’ve only covered one or two cases that have happened in the city of Detroit. Most of the stuff I cover is in the suburbs or out state. John Norman Collins was in Ypsi-Ann Arbor. He’s a terrible serial killer. Oakland County Child Killer, that wasn’t in Detroit, that was in the ’burbs.

Why do you think 6 of the Top 20 podcasts on Apple Podcasts are true crime podcasts?

I think there’s a couple of reasons for it. There are people who don’t want people to know they’re interested [in true crime] and they’re following these unsolved murders and disappearances. [With podcasts], you’re not sitting there watching Investigation Discovery. It’s intimate. It’s private. … I think, in part, it’s that people want to keep it on the down low that they’re as invested and interested in these gruesome things. I think’s a big part of it. It’s also really convenient to listen to a podcast. I have a lot of listeners who are moms or listen at work.

Is it just because we’re curious or is it just a macabre obsession?

I think that depends on the person. I’ve been criticized for not sharing all the details but that’s not how I roll. I’m not sharing all the gory details and if I warn listeners at the beginning of an episode that it’s bad, they know it’s bad. There are podcast that get into the horrific details and play 911 tapes of someone’s last moments or last breaths; that’s not what I do. But there’s a big one like Sword and Scale, which is very graphic. … [Some] Listeners like an opportunity to help, is what I’m finding. There are listeners who want to hear the dirty, gory details, there are listeners who are like, “No, I just want the story,” and there are listeners that want to help [solve the case].

Do you think that by putting missing persons cases out there that you are keeping them unforgotten because you’re reminding people that this person has still not been found?

I would hope so. People want to be involved. I have had tips come in on old murder cases which can be super creepy but I would rather somebody reach out to me than not reach out at all. But if someone does reach out to me, I give the information directly to the investigator.

For more information on the Already Gone podcast, visit alreadygonepodcast.com