In today’s podcast news roundup, a fictionalized series delving into John Lennon’s life in the 1970s is set to debut; Josie Duffy Rice joins Crooked Media’s daily news show “What a Day” as co-host; iHeartMedia teams with journalist Robert Evans to launch progressive podcast network Cool Zone Media; and more.


“Blood on the Tracks: The John Lennon Story” is set to premiere Thursday, Aug. 19, with the first two episodes available on iHeartRadio and other podcast platforms. The 10-episode series takes a deep dive into the legendary Beatles’ life in the political and violent years of the ’70s. The podcast — part true crime, part historical fiction — covers Lennon’s ties with political revolutionaries, the devolution of his relationship with Paul McCartney and his assassination at the age of 40. It’s hosted by Jake Brennan (“Disgraceland”) and produced by Double Elvis. “Blood on the Tracks: The John Lennon Story” will feature fictionalized voices of Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, Richard Nixon, Jerry Rubin, Yoko Ono, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, John Sinclair, Paul McCartney, Chuck Berry and more.  Listen to the trailer at this link; more info is available at bloodonthetrackspod.com.

Religion of Sports‘ narrative podcast series “False Idol” re-examining the life of Oscar Pistorius is set to debut Aug. 26 with the first two episodes. The South African Paralympic sprinter made history at the 2012 London Games, becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics, and six months later was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Hosted by sports reporter Tim Rohan, “False Idol” tells the story through the eyes of the people Pistorius irrevocably changed. The seven-part podcast, distributed in partnership with PRX, will be available free on major podcast platforms.

Ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s and public media organization PRX teamed for “Blackberry Jams Presented by Ben & Jerry’s, a podcast pulling back the curtain on how jam-band culture and Black liberation activism intersect. Co-created and co-hosted by Lenny Duncan and Leslie Mac, “Blackberry Jams” launches on Tuesday, Aug. 31. The series dives into Phish fandom and explores the experience of Black Phans, envisioning a community “filled with liberation, love and Phish tickets by mail for all.” The 10-episode podcast series will feature new episodes weekly through Nov. 2, available free on major podcast platforms. Listen to the trailer at this link.


Crooked Media tapped Josie Duffy Rice for its flagship daily news show, “What a Day,” with the journalist and activist joining as part of the show’s new lineup of rotating co-hosts alongside veteran host and politics reporter Gideon Resnick. The podcast’s new co-host roster will also include journalist and podcast host Tre’vell Anderson and Crooked Media’s Priyanka Aribindi. Duffy Rice is the former president of Appeal, a news outlet that publishes original journalism about the criminal justice system, where she also co-hosted its podcast “Justice in America.” New episodes of “What a Day” are available Monday-Friday starting at 5 a.m. ET.


Meadowlark Media, headed by former ESPN boss John Skipper and ex-ESPN host Dan Le Batard, announced that the BBC commissioned a fourth installment in the “Sport’s Strangest Crimes” series. The new eight-episode podcast, set to be released in February 2022, will tell the story of Anthony Curcio, a standout athlete who was behind one of the most elaborate armored-car heists in U.S. history. Meadowlark head of audio Carl Scott, a veteran of StoryCorps, WNYC and the Players’ Tribune, will oversee the project, which is Meadowlark’s first for the U.K. market.


iHeartMedia announced Cool Zone Media, a new podcast network powered by journalist Robert Evans that will “chronicle the divisive truths of the past and present in order to bring about a better, more informed future.” Evans, who will serve as head of content for Cool Zone Media, will be joined by iHeartPodcast Network executive producer Sophie Lichterman, who will become Cool Zone Media’s head of creative, to help curate voices in today’s progressive political landscape. Cool Zone Media debuts Aug. 16 with the first episode of new daily podcast “It Could Happen Here,” available on iHeartRadio and other platforms, focusing on climate change. In September, Cool Zone Media will debut its second original podcast, “Assault on America,” written and co-produced by the U.K.’s Novel, examining the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and related events. Other creators joining Cool Zone Media will include rapper-author Jason “Propaganda” Petty, who will bring with him his podcast “Hood Politics,” and journalist-filmmaker Jake Hanrahan with his current podcast “Q Clearance: The Hunt for QAnon.” The network will feature upcoming projects from podcasters Bridget Todd (“There Are No Girls on the Internet”), Jamie Loftus (“Lolita Podcast,” “Aack Cast”), researcher Christopher Wong and journalist Garrison Davis.