The Coyote Co-Creator of the True Crime Campfire Podcast: Katie Fross
Written by Paul Green on April 6, 2020
With the current state of affairs seeing many of our students, faculty, staff and alumni staying at home to keep safe from the building wave of COVID-19, options for entertainment can sometimes seem rather dauntingly limited.
Thankfully, an entirely new range of possibilities has been opened to advancements made in communications technologies over the past couple of decades. Audiobooks, which were once the domain of work-a-day commuters in their cars, have now found a place in homes next to the shelves of paper libraries. Another development that occurred along with the growth and evolution of the internet was the idea of the “podcast”.
Being an episodic form of media, usually one that’s strictly audio-based, podcasting is a portmantue of the words “broadcast” and “iPod” – the small Apple-built device which revolutionized the way we consumed music just a few short decades ago.
Subjects of podcasts are as wide-ranging as there are interests which exist. From academic discussions of literature and the arts, to sports trends, through to just the ramblings of anyone with access to a microphone and a computer and the least bit of knowledge or interest about anything under the sun.
One of our very own alumna is the co-creator of a podcast that focuses on one such subject that’s built up traction among a healthy demographic of listeners; the genre of “True Crime”. Creators often pick from a wide variety of criminal behaviors, and focus on cases that caught their interest through a combination of the complexity of the crime, its seemingly outre nature, or the fact that it, perhaps, remains an unsolved mystery to this very day.
Katie Fross (MBA Class of 2015), and former volleyball player, helped build and create the “True Crime Campfire” podcast. KWU Student Media Director Paul Green had a chance to “sit down” with Katie during a recent virtual interview, and asked her how she got started, and where she thinks she’ll go in the future with her podcasting side-hustle. A link to Katie’s podcast Facebook page, as well as a link you can use to download and listen are at the end of the interview.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, and what you’re doing these days.
My name is Katie Fross and I got both my bachelors and Masters degree at KWU. I currently live in Nashville, TN where I work for an insurance company as a commercial underwriter. When I’m not researching or recording, I spend my time hiking with my dog or playing Dungeons and Dragons mostly.
2. What in the world got you interested in examining crimes?
I’ve always been very interested in criminal profiling. I’m a naturally anxious person and I think it made me feel safer because I could analyze the types of people that commit these crimes and see the red flags.
3. What was it that led you to the idea of creating a podcast about that interest?
My cohost, Whitney, and I met through a true crime Facebook group. She would always host these streams called “True crime story times” where she’d tell members about a crime. Shortly after I joined, I decided to do one myself and I had so much fun I did a few more.
Then, Whitney and I became friends and through our discussions, she asked me if I’d be interested in cohosting a show with her about a single case, and that’s how season one was born. Then, we liked it so much that we decided to keep going.
4. You work with a partner – tell us a little about what that’s like?
I absolutely 100% couldn’t do this by myself. Whitney and I make a really good team. She’s an incredible story teller and I’m naturally curious, so we complement each other well.
It’s also super duper fun having someone to bounce ideas off of. We’ve become very good friends and we get to talk and nerd out about our interests all day.
5. What about any technical challenges you had to overcome to get a podcast that sounds as clean and sharp as it is today?
We knew starting out that we wanted good sound, so we reached out to a few of our podcasting friends to see what equipment they used.
Our podcasting fairy godmother, Shelby Scott of Scare You to Sleep, recommended the blue yeti microphone and her show sounds amazing, so we went with that. The mics are around $100 and the sound is so good with them. We’ve never had issues with the hardware.
Another challenge is that we don’t live in the same state, so we have to record separately. We use Zoom to call and then we record individually using Audacity and then combine them later.
The final challenge is that our pets don’t respect recording time. I have a 115lb lap dog and a nosy cat and Whitney and her husband have 8 cats. They’re generally more well behaved than mine, but they have occasionally caused a ruckus.
Whitney’s husband is our editor and I’m sure he’s had to listen to hours of animal wrangling.
6. What do you see for the future for “True Crime Campfire?”
We’re sitting right around 100k downloads after about 8 months of shows, which just blows my mind. We set out to “be the true crime podcast that we wanted to see in the world” and I think we’ve accomplished that at the very least.
Our next goal is just to grow. To keep building our little true crime nerd community and see where this puppy can take us.
7. Tell us about one or two of the podcasts YOU follow and enjoy…
I hope it’s okay but I have a few…
Scare You to Sleep is a show where scary stories are read to you in a soothing voice. As I mentioned above, Shelby Scott, the host is a friend of ours but she’s also got an incredible podcast.
Olympia Oddities is about all the weird and wild stuff happening in the Pacific Northwest hosted by a really rad person.
Bruh, Issa Murder is a true crime show focused on cases that involve people of color. It’s a really great show.
Suspiria is also a true crime show, with a focus on crimes taking place in Latin America. The hosts are two cool ladies.
8. Some people might be inspired to create a podcast of their own, especially under the current circumstances. What advice do you have for them?
Do it. There will always be a million reasons to not do something, but if it’s something you want, just take the leap. All you need is a decent mic, a premise, and a computer to get up and running.