Crime Junkie Podcast
|Original release||December 17, 2017– present|
In a Q&A with Inside Radio, Flowers said that she and Prawat, her co-host, have been friends since birth. Flowers and Prawat, born on the same day, became friends through their mothers and grew up together; both developed a passion for true crime. "[You] can probably thank my mom for that, because I grew up reading Nancy Drew [and] Agatha Christie."
Flowers hosted Murder Monday, a 20-minute show on RadioNOW 100.9 in Indianapolis, for Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana about one year.
According to Flowers on WTHR, the name Crime Junkie came to her when she started working at Crime Stoppers. Flowers enjoyed podcasts years before she started Crime Junkie. She felt that there weren't enough podcasts and decided to create one that she herself would enjoy.
Flowers released the first episode of Crime Junkie in December 2017 and has posted weekly episodes since then. Flowers worked full-time at a hospital while still managing Crime Junkie, but in 2019 reported that she had made managing Crime Junkie her full-time job.
Production and format
Flowers says that each episode takes roughly 30 hours per week to research, write, edit, and prepare for release. Flowers does all of the research with the exception of a few episodes that Prawat has taken the lead on.
Crime Junkie episodes typically have the same format. The episodes are about 30 minutes to an hour long, and Flowers reveals all of the details. The cases covered include murder, missing persons, and serial killers. Flowers tells the story while Prawat adds her perspective. There is an extra segment once a month called "Pruppet of the Month" where Prawat tells stories about dogs who have been adopted. This segment is unrelated to the typical Crime Junkie content and inspired by fans who posted pictures of their dogs online.
Flowers records the podcasts in her home office, and her brother, David Flowers, helps with the editing. The name AudioChuck came from Flowers' dog, Charlie, who barks at the end of every episode. "He's my whole world ... He's become more famous than I have."
Podcast episodes are released every Monday in the United States and Tuesday internationally. The show describes its style as one "that sounds like you’re sitting around talking crime with your best friends." Flowers and Prawat have a Patreon page for the podcast that allows listeners to pay a monthly fee for extra content. While most cases are chosen by Flowers, they also take submissions where fans can suggest cases.
Flowers and Prawat have taken Crime Junkie on tour to four cities in the United States. The Crime Junkie Live show consists of Flowers and Prawat telling case stories that have never been released on the regular podcast.
Laura Barcella of Rolling Stone magazine named Crime Junkie among her favorite true crime podcasts for 2018, and wrote that "it’s earned five stars from almost 10,000 listeners for a reason." Jenni Miller of Vulture.com wrote that Flowers was "particularly passionate" in her coverage of the Murder of April Tinsley with interviews with Tinsley's mother in a previous podcast and an interview with one of the people responsible for the arrest of the killer. Kevin Chang Barnum from Podcast Review wrote a review on the podcast, stating that "Crime Junkie provides a community for true crime obsessives." Barnum also writes that the episodes published by Flowers are "carefully crafted and researched." Elizabeth Clark of The Odyssey Online made a top ten list of her favorite Crime Junkie episodes. The show has been gaining national attention and according to WISH-TV, it's because of their "unique approach to the true crime genre" Christopher Rosa of Glamour magazine wrote that "Podcasts like Crime Junkie and Serial are always in the top slots in iTunes." Amy Bartner of Indy Star named Crime Junkie among its "17 local podcasts you should be listening to". In March 2019, USA Today's For The Win ran the 2019 Ultimate Podcast Bracket tournament in which Crime Junkie lost to Binge Mode (produced by The Ringer) in the Championship from a field of 32 podcasts.
In August of 2019, several writers accused Flowers of plagiarism. The first to accuse Flowers of plagiarism was Cathy Frye, who alleged that the March 2019 episode about Kacie Woody relied entirely on her series of articles in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, without attribution. Frye took legal action against the podcast when Flowers, who had removed the episode after Fry's allegations, reposted it with source notes that linked to Fry's work but did not verbal attribution to Fry in the episode.
Once Frye accused Crime Junkie of stealing her content, it prompted other podcast makers to come forward with accusations of their own. Steven Pacheco of Trace Evidence posted a side-by-side comparison of the content of his episode on the disappearance of Asha Degree with that of Crime Junkie's, claiming his writing was used without credit. Robin Warder of The Trail Went Cold Podcast alleged the May 2018 episode on Henry McCabe "practically read... verbatim without credit" from his Reddit post. A Reddit user alleged that the March 2019 podcast on Kirsten Hatfield copied almost "word for word" from a 2018 episode of On the Case with Paula Zahn. Crime Junkie removed the episodes about Woody and Hatfield in August 2019, along with three other episodes. Flowers issued a statement that episodes had been taken down because "source material could no longer be found or properly cited" but did not address specific accusations of plagiarism. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noted that plagiarism controversy may have decreased Crime Junkie's audience, as it dropped from #1 to #5 in the Apple's true crime podcasts in August 2019.
- "Crime Junkie Podcast". Crime Junkie.
- "Q&A with Podcast Crime Junkie Co-Host Ashley Flowers". Inside Radio. Atlanta, Georgia.
- Wren, Adam (2019-11-07). "The Problem With Crime Junkie". Indianapolis Monthly. Retrieved 2020-01-21.
- Swan, Scott. "'Crime Junkie' shares her passion in every episode". WTHR. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
- Barnum, Kevin Chang (2019-08-07). "Crime Junkie Provides a Community for True Crime Obsessives". Podcast Review. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
- Melillo, Joe. "Local podcast 'Crime Junkie' climbing the charts nationally". WISH-TV.
- "Crime Junkie Podcast". Crime Junkie.
- Spangler, Todd (2019-08-15). "'Crime Junkie' Podcast Host Ashley Flowers Responds to Plagiarism Allegations". Variety.
- Barcella, Laura (December 31, 2018). "Best True-Crime Podcasts of 2018". Rolling Stone.
- Barcella, Laura (January 10, 2019). "Best True Crime Podcast: 'Crime Junkie'". Rolling Stone.
- "This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: A Series for Greta Fans". Vulture.com.
- Clark, Elizabeth (December 24, 2018). "10 'Crime Junkie' Episodes That Are Sure To Give You Your True Crime Fix". The Odyssey Online. Odyssey Media Group.
- Rosa, Christopher (March 28, 2019). "The Best True-Crime TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now". Glamour.
- Bartner, Amy. "17 local podcasts you should be listening to". Indy Star. USA Today. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Schwartz, Nick (March 16, 2019). "Binge Mode wins the 2019 Ultimate Podcast Bracket Championship". For The Win / USA Today. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
- McLeod, Jerry (2019-09-03). "Crime Junkie loses place as country's No. 1 podcast". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Online. Retrieved 2020-01-21.
- Taylor, Derrick Bryson; Hauser, Christine (2019-08-22). "Popular 'Crime Junkie' Podcast Removes Episodes After Plagiarism Accusation". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
- McNeal, Stephanie (2019-08-15). "The Hosts of the Popular Podcast 'Crime Junkie' Are Accused of Quietly Deleting Episodes over Plagiarism". BuzzFeed.