LAist Studios Unveils Podcast Slate Featuring True Crime Noir, Hollywood Interview Series

Hollywood sign

Hollywood sign

Planned shows include 'Servant of Pod' with host Nick Quah and anthology series 'California Love.'

Southern California Public Radio has assembled a slate of podcasts through shingle LAist Studios and, true to their origin, the stories are focused on the Golden State.

The projects, which will premiere in June and July, include a Western crime noir, a Hollywood interview series, a show about a burgeoning new business and a collection of stories about Los Angeles.

"The diversity of L.A. is really a calling card," says SCPR president and CEO Herb Scannell, explaining that he wanted to "lean into that" with the new projects from 11-month-old LAist Studios. "We want to tell L.A. stories to the world."

The slate kicks off with the June 17 premiere of Servant of Pod With Nick Quah. In the weekly show, Quah — the writer behind the Hot Pod industry newsletter — will unpack the business of podcasting exploring how the medium has exploded in popularity and caught Hollywood’s eye. Servant of Pod, which will release new shows weekly, will also offer listening recommendations.      

On June 23, LAist Studios will debut Hollywood, The Sequel. Hosted by The Frame’s John Horn, the podcast will explore the changes Hollywood could make in response to the events of recent months, including the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests for racial justice. Through conversations with industry figures including Kerry Washington, Glenn Close, Judd Apatow and Ramy Youssef, Horn will create a wish list of sorts for how Hollywood can be reformed.

LAist Studios is also prepping anthology series California Love, in which journalist and author Walter Thompson-Hernández explores his hometown of Los Angeles through stories of a city in transition. The weekly show, which will launch July 9 and release new episodes every Thursday, will delve into everything from gentrification to the time he met Kobe Bryant. Megan Tan, whose credits include The Habitat and Planet Money, is producing.

Also in the pipeline is California City, a limited-series about a planned “city of the future” in the Mojave Desert that promised potential investors a future of riches but, ultimately, lured a number of immigrants into a web of deceit. Emily Guerin hosts the show, which will premiere July 13 with new episodes launching every Monday. L.A. Times Studios is distributing the series, which is produced by Arwen Champion-Nicks, in collaboration with LAist Studios. 

SCPR launched LAist Studios in July 2019 as an extension of its public radio business. "I'm excited by the creative medium of podcasting because it's not formulaic yet," says Scannell. "There are no rules and you can invent."