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Stillwater couple Krista Leach and Paul Hawkins are not shy about their love for the true crime genre.

“We’ve always been true crime fans and love watching shows like CSI and Without a Trace,” Krista said.

Eventually, after catching each other constantly listening to different true crime podcasts, they each had a realization:

“Why not just start our own podcast?”

On Nov. 28 of last year, Paul and Krista’s first “Homestead Horrors” podcast episode was released. While both admitted that podcasting has been a learning process, that hasn’t stopped the show from growing. Homestead Horrors received over 50,000 downloads in its first three months.

The couple, who also run the online store Prickly Polkadot Boutique, said that they try to differentiate themselves from other true crime podcasts in some important ways. They tend to select smaller cases that haven’t received heavy coverage in the past, and never disclose to one another what case they are researching before recording an episode.

“In the boutique world, we don’t see each other much because we’re both working on different things, whereas the podcasting is fun because we can come together and tell each other a story,” Krista said.

Now airing twice a week every Tuesday and Friday, Homestead Horrors is a discussion-based podcast that explores some gruesome crimes involving murder, serial killers as well as some paranormal topics. With about 6 to 12 hours of research going into each case, they try to select ones that can be discussed for an entire episode of about 45 minutes to an hour.

“We want the podcast to be fun without going over-the-top,” Krista said. “We tend to stay focused and get to the main points of the case.”

The couple said that they are both intrigued by the true crime genre due to some of the fascinating psychology involved in many of the cases. The research they put into each case can also reveal how sometimes, society fails the people who become victims to crimes that aren’t that difficult to predict.

“We like to cover smaller cases because we want to tell the victim’s story,” Krista said. “We want to get their story out there in case it helps anyone who is or can see someone going through a similar struggle.”

The rising popularity of their podcast, the couple said, is partly due to some savvy social media marketing. They each independently run the Instagram and Facebook pages so that any cases suggested by fans are not revealed to each other.

The growing social media following has led to many positive reviews of the podcast. The growing quantity of reviews and followers has increased its visibility on popular platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Homestead Horrors can be listened to for free online through all major platforms by searching “Homestead Horrors.” The podcast also has a Patreon page, where for a small monthly fee listeners can get extra perks such as early access to certain episodes, access to bonus episodes and discounts off of merchandise.

Paul and Krista said that they have some future goals for the podcast, such as recording live shows from the scenes of the crime and making it into popular conventions. But for now, they’re enjoying the ride.

“We want to make it something we can keep doing because it’s fun for us,” Paul said. “That’s pretty much our main goal.”

Contact Kevin Ott at kevin.ott@ecm-inc.com

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