In today’s podcast roundup, “Batman Unburied” flies to the top of Spotify’s charts; HBO Max’s “The Staircase” gets a companion podcast; Slate’s “Slow Burn” Season 7 will unpack the history of Roe v. Wade; Audible is set to unleash “Beast Master” investigative narrative podcast about “Ohio’s bear king”; and more.
DC’s “Batman Unburied” superhero series soared to the top of the Spotify podcast charts in markets around the globe this week after its premiere — unseating “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the controversial show that is the streamer’s regular chart-topper. The thriller from David S. Goyer delves into the dark recesses of Bruce Wayne’s psyche with an all-new storyline.
The first two episodes of the 10-ep “Batman Unburied” bowed May 3. Available exclusively on Spotify, the series captured the No. 1 slot in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, France, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Mexico and India. In Japan, it sits at No. 2, behind Spotify Studios’ “Spy x Family” based on the popular manga series.
The English version of “Batman Unburied” stars Winston Duke as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Hasan Minhaj as The Riddler, Sam Witwer as The Harvester and Gina Rodriguez as Barbara Gordon, Gotham PD detective and daughter of former police commissioner Jim Gordon. Spotify also released “Batman Unburied” in eight localized versions in Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and Mexico. The podcast’s popularity on Spotify undoubtedly has been helped by the release of Warner Bros. “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader; the studio has greenlight a sequel.
Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max on May 5 launched a companion podcast to original true-crime series “The Staircase,” exploring the life of Michael Peterson and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson. Host Nancy Miller (HBO’s “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” podcast) interviews both cast and crew to unpack how the true story was brought to life on screen, plus case experts and academics to dive into the science, history and psychology behind the case. Episode 1 features executive producer-writer-director Antonio Campos and Toni Collette, who portrays Kathleen in the series. Other notable guests joining throughout the season will include Colin Firth (starring in the series as Michael Peterson), Sophie Turner and Parker Posey. It’s available on major podcast platforms for free. More info at this link.
Amazon’s Audible original podcast “Beast Master,” created and hosted by U.K. journalist Jamie Fullerton, is set to premiere May 12 exclusively on the audio platform. In 2006, Fullerton flew to Ohio to wrestle a bear named Caesar for a quirky magazine article. After the wrestle-induced adrenalin wore off, Fullerton noticed even stranger things about Caesar’s handler, Sam Mazzola: He had a private exotic animal empire hidden on his suburban Ohio farm. A few years later, Fullerton learned of two bizarre deaths that took place on the farm, prompting him to return to Ohio to finally uncover the truth behind Sam Mazzola, Ohio’s bear king. Audible says “Beast Master” is not a true-crime murder podcast as much as it is a portrait of a fascinating and complicated character — like “Tiger King” meets “S-Town.”
Season 7 of Slate’s “Slow Burn” narrative podcast on American history, scheduled to premiere June 1, will focus on the origins of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision — which the high court is now on the verge of overturning. Hosted by Slate news director Susan Matthews, the four-part series, which was supported by a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation, will tell forgotten stories from the years leading up to Roe, a time when Americans weren’t so bitterly divided on abortion.
Journalism content studio Project Brazen on May 5 released the first two episodes of “Resistance: Stories from Ukraine.” Host Laurel Chor uncovers the stories of everyday people who are fighting back after having their lives uprooted due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, produced in real time during the month of May, with new episodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The podcast is distributed by PRX and is available free to listeners on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast and Amazon Music.
PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL) on May 4 premiered Season 2 of youth mental-health podcast “On Our Minds,” hosted by 17-year-old high school junior Matt Suescun of Wyckoff, N.J., and 16-year-old high school junior Faiza Ashar of Baltimore. Available on all major audio platforms, the podcast is produced in partnership with WETA’s Well Beings, a multiyear mental health public awareness campaign that works with local PBS stations across the country to deliver local programming. The podcast will comprise 15 episodes released twice weekly through the end of June.
A+E Networks set a May 18 premiere date for original podcast “Origins of Hip Hop,” ahead of the TV docuseries of the same name. Hosted by legendary emcee Grandmaster Caz, the podcast dives into core elements of the musical genre and its surrounding culture. The 10-episode season will include interviews with industry insiders and experts such as Sha-Rock, considered the first female emcee; Grand Wizzard Theodore, credited with inventing the popular “scratching” technique; and Kurtis Blow, one of the first commercially successful hip-hop artists. The podcast is a companion to eight-part documentary series “Origins of Hip Hop” premiering Monday, May 30, on A&E.
Audible on Friday (May 6) premiered “Pete Townshend’s Somebody Saved Me,” volume 27 of the platforms “Words + Music” series, in which artists blend memoir and musical performance. It’s available to stream for free (at this link).
Audio-first media company SALT and nonprofit Repairers of the Breach announced a new podcast celebrating music that has played a critical role in a movement for freedom, liberation and justice. Hosted by Yara Allen, a theomusicologist at Repairers of the Breach, and social-justice leader Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the podcast is currently in production.
SiriusXM’s AdsWizz and Audiomack, a music and podacst streaming platform, announced an exclusive global audio-advertising inventory agreement, giving AdsWizz exclusive sales rights to Audiomack’s multicultural programming. Audiomack says it reaches more than 20 million monthly global users across North America, Europe and Africa.