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APM’s New Podcast Mission Is to Answer The ‘And Then What Happened?’ Questions.

One of the biggest criticisms of the press is, it covers big stories and then moves on, rarely following up to tell the story of an event’s long term impact. American Public Media is addressing that head on. Its APM Studios is launching a new investigative podcast called Ripple, a joint production with the Los Angeles-based podcast studio Western Sound. It vows to return to the scene of major events to discover the impacts that have been raging, unnoticed, for years.

Host Dan Leone says the podcast series is “investigating the stories that we were told were over.” In Ripple’s first season, journalist Dan Leone travels across the Gulf Coast of the United States to document the ongoing effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which are still impacting many coastal residents more than a decade later.

“A couple of years ago, I started wondering, how did the largest oil spill in American history get cleaned up in just a few months,” Leone says on the season’s preview. “So I drove to the Gulf Coast to talk to the people who lived through the oil spill. And if you ask a lot of people on the Gulf, they'll tell you a very different version of the BP oil spill story.”

Leone is Production Director for Western Sound. He previously worked on podcasts that include Lost HillsStrangelandThe Score: Bank Robber Diaries, Team Coco's Smartr, and LAist Studio's L.A. Made. Listeners will also hear the work of Western Sound senior reporter Betsy Shepherd on the first season. Her work has earlier aired on NPR, the BBC, and other outlets. 

Ripple is being released weekly through February 22. 

Even as other public radio outlets have been forced to cut back their podcast efforts in recent months, APM Studios says in the announcement that it will continue to expand the unit’s programming slate in 2024. “The launch of Ripple furthers APM Studios’ commitment creating podcasts that reflect the stories of individuals and communities around the U.S.,” it says in the announcement.

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