The Veritas 7 – True Crime Podcast
Who We Are:
We here at The Veritas 7 – True Crime Podcast, are all really insane writers, journalists, and authors, who also happen to be devoted, true-crime genre junkies! The Veritas 7 – True Crime Podcast and its family of other fine programs is a wholly owned entity of W.O.M.E.N. – (Wild Orchid Media & Entertainment Network, Inc.), a legally formed and operated C- Corporation formed and maintained in the state of Georgia, which I, Kurt Dillon, and my wife, Crystal Dillon, own 100% of the shares of stock.
Where Did This Idea Come From?
One day, not too long ago, while perusing several true crime podcasts, it occurred to me that I, Kurt Dillon, a long-time writer and investigative journalist, could do better by developing and introducing a radically different kind of program.
After spending the next few weeks carefully mapping out the nuances, I finally felt like I was ready to begin enlisting the help of support staff. After meeting with several associates who work and play in associated fields and share my passion for captivating true crime stories, once they heard the details of my plan, Matt Slonaker, Elizabeth Dillengen, and April Hill, all decided that it was something they absolutely wanted to be a part of – that was the day The Veritas 7 – True Crime Podcast was born!
So convinced were we all that this unique programming style would be a success, that we all decided to devote ourselves to it, without the initial care or concern for compensation in any way. In short, we were all willing to put in all the long hours of hard work, for free, with the only real goal of building a successful show from the ground up. We also believed that if were successful in building the show, the ability to monetize and turn the show profitable would necessarily follow.
That being said, with any new venture such as this, there are costs involved. What’s more, the more successful the show becomes, the more rapidly the costs associated with producing it, increase – often at a more rapid pace than the show’s ability to generate revenue organically.
What is this Idea and What Makes it Different?
So what makes us different than the plethora of other true crime podcasts currently flooding the market? The answer is lots of things.
First, it occurred to me during the development of the format for the show that a traditional 30-minute to an hour-long podcast was grossly insufficient to thoroughly capture the essence of a truly diabolical or vicious crime. So I began my divergence from the status quo by deciding that each episode of the show – that is, each crime that was selected for the show, would be split over a pair of 90-minute parts, thereby devoting a full three hours of programming to every case the show would cover. However, it also occurred to me that how I decided to devote that time, would be just as critical to the show’s success as the allotment of time itself.
That brings me to the second element of The Veracity 7 that differentiates this program from any other currently on the airwaves at the time of this writing – the distribution of content.
To that end, I know that three hours of content, on any subject, can turn tepid very quickly. For that reason, I decided that each 180-minute episode should be split into two equal 90-minute parts. Further, each of those parts should be similarly partitioned, not unlike the acts of a play, into three 30-minute segments which I call chapters.
Using this model as a template for all official episodes creates a very user-friendly experience both for the cast, as well as the audience, by establishing natural break points in the content. Each of these 30-minute chapters is then designated 1 through 6, with chapters 1-3 always occurring in part 1 of an episode, and chapters 4-6 occurring in part 2.
By further branding each chapter with a specific role that will remain constant from episode to episode, the cast and audience can more easily anticipate what type of information to expect in each chapter. For example, chapter 1, part 1 of every The Veritas 7 episode will devote its 30-minute window to the macro introduction of the case, the victims(s), and the human interest background of the central characters.
Chapter 2, will then begin breaking down the crime scene as it was found, as well as the motives and circumstances each of the characters find themselves in as they pertain to the victim(s). This is also where the initial list of suspects will be introduced.
In chapter 3, we create the ‘hook’ if you will, by introducing the forensic, trace, toxicology, and autopsy evidence in the case. This ends part 1 of the episode and leaves the audience a full week to examine the minutiae of the case, peruse the crime scene photos, victimology, the actual police and autopsy reports, witness interviews, photos of evidence and murder weapons if they exist, and images of the victims, suspects, their families, local and national newspaper clippings from the time of the crime, links to other articles and video news reports pertaining to the case, and other such evidence.
This brings us to another aspect of The Veritas 7 that separates us from other true crime podcasts. Using the FOIA process, during the investigation phase of each case, our researchers petition local, state, and federal level agencies to provide the actual case materials electronically, which we then load onto designated sections of our website under the specific case file for each episode.
Doing this allows our audience to formulate their own opinions and exercise the inner cyber-sleuth that exists in all of us who devote our time and passion to the true crime genre.
During the week between the release of Part 1 and the release of Part 2, we will also release a discussion episode which will only be available to paid subscribers as bonus material. In this roughly 45-minute episode, our panel of investigative podcasters will break down and explain the various pieces of evidence, often calling upon the services of professional law enforcement officials, attorneys, prosecutors, doctors, and forensic pathologists, to offer in-depth insight into the numerous technical idiosyncrasies of evidence, courtroom procedures, search warrant applications, and many other aspects of police procedure, evidence collection, and trial preparation.
The following week, after the highly anticipated release of Part 2, Chapter 4 will focus on minimalizing the suspect pool and, if the evidence permits, honing our attention in on a very short list, or even one primary suspect.
In Chapter 5, the show will focus on the evidence and circumstances that lead toward the primary suspect(s) and explain any possible pitfalls in the trial process that a prosecutor might face in bringing charges against those parties.
Finally, in Chapter 6, our audience experiences what I believe to be the most unique part of our show. The final 30-minute segment will be conducted LIVE, in designated Facebook chatrooms (only paid subscribers are permitted in the rooms with the hosts) while non-subscribers will be free to chat amongst themselves and listen to the interactions between the hosts and the paid subscribers. Finally, the episode will end with our panel of 7 functioning like a jury, and casting votes to determine if they believe we have provided enough evidence to successfully convict, or most likely acquit the prime suspect(s).
In conclusion, I believe that all of these elements combined, complete a specifically unique and substantially interactive experience for our audience that is not available through any other podcast I am aware of at the time of this writing.
The show is live now and we have been producing content for almost two weeks at this time. The show has quickly become popular, however, I’ve found that the process of submitting, and often re-submitting dozens of FOIA requests per day, requires a substantial amount of labor hours – hours that require dedicated staff members to be paid for their time and services.
Also, the level of comprehensive capabilities our website must achieve requires a web hosting service and plan that is far above the inexpensive levels often used by simple blogs, or your basic online storefront. The massive quantities of documents, images, videos, and other case materials that need to be uploaded to our hosting servers each day become enormous very quickly and thereby require the purchase of a more elite, dedicated server hosting plan.
Put simply, despite the early success of the programming and its continued growth and popularity, the resources required to continuously provide the highest levels of interactivity and authentic evidence gathering, pay guests, and add additional support staff, have grown even more rapidly than my ability to personally fully fund the process.
Ancillary and Complimentary Elements:
Additionally, in order to increase our audience base even more rapidly, I have created 3 sub-genre sister podcast productions that serve specific niche markets within the true crime genre. The first, Gifted Insights, is centered around the feelings and insights of several gifted mediums and psychics who have reported having visions or feelings regarding many of the cases we discuss on the show. This podcast is dedicated strictly to their insights and was created for the large segment of our viewers that want to delve into more of that aspect of information gathering and crime solving.
Next, since The Veritas 7’s primary focus is on unsolved cases actual criminal investigations are underway, JUST GONE! is a podcast that I created that is completely devoted to active unsolved missing persons cases where it is unknown if the person(s) met with foul play, suffered catastrophic accidents, or simply decided to intentionally disappear and start a new life under a new set of circumstances. As you can imagine, there is also a very large segment of the true crime genre who are fascinated by these types of cases as well, and, from what we’ve seen, many that begin listening to one of the shows, quickly begin listening to all three.
Lastly, we also produced a completely UNCENSORED version of the show which will function behind a paywall and will present evidence of a nature, and in a way that would not be appropriate in an open-access podcast. This show is for the fan whose pulse quickens at the horror and magnitude of the most vicious details of many of the cases we cover.
The schedule I have developed for our stable of productions is as follows:
The Veritas 7 – True Crime Podcast TEASER Episode – Each episode goes live every other Tuesday at 9:00 PM EST (preceding the release of a new Episode 1 of the general podcast). (Bi-weekly podcast).
The Veritas 7 – True Crime Podcast – Each episode part goes live every Wednesday night at 9:00 PM EST.
The Veritas 7 – Discussion Group Episode – Each episode goes live every Friday night at 9:00 PM but only following the release of Episode 1 the previous Wednesday (bi-weekly podcast).
Gifted Insights – Each new episode goes live every Saturday night at 9:00 PM EST.
JUST GONE! – Each new episode goes live every Sunday night at 9:00 PM EST.
The Veracity 7 UNCENSORED – Each new episode goes live every Thursday night at 9:00 PM EST but only following the release of Episode 2 the previous night. (bi-weekly podcast).
Once again, these shows have all already been created and several are already actively producing content, and all mentioned shows will have live episodes available wherever you get your podcasts by August 31, 2023.
Financial resources Needed:
The Initial Goal:
To fund the production of these shows and successfully hire the necessary support staff required to obtain the bevy of case materials, occasionally travel to ongoing court trials to attend hearings or trials, and purchase production equipment and software necessary to produce only the highest quality finished products, I have set our initial funding goal at $35,000 USD.
New and Updated Equipment Purchases:
It is absolutely possible to create a good quality podcast on a shoestring budget.
It is also extremely labor-intensive to do so since all free or moderately inexpensive equipment and software require far more backend effort by the user as well as less functional user interfaces.
Purchasing quality audio and video editing software as well as mixing boards, sound effects generators, and recording equipment is one of the most expensive aspects of producing a quality podcast – particularly one that requires multiple simultaneous inputs from cast members who share no geographic similarity.
To help with production automation that will require less time to complete the manual tasks I have to perform currently in more affordable, low-tech, manually laborious ways, this software and equipment will cost $997 for the main mixing board capable of handling up to 12 simultaneous input streams, and $299 for each of the microphone, headphone, and sound filter kits needed by each host/cohost and each in-studio guest who appears on the show – $399 times 10 (7 hosts/co-hosts and up to 3 simultaneous guests) ($3,990 + 997 = $4,987) – just under $5,000 USD.
Copying, shipping, and resource fees associated with the acquisition of ‘hard copy only’ evidence are often required when submitting FOIA requests. Those fees increase as the time required of agency personnel to comply with the FOIA request increases and increases even further when hard copies are needed to be made and sent via ‘snail mail’ to comply with the request. All such fees are the responsibility of the requestor and vary from query to query. However, the average cost for each acquisition that cannot be complied with electronically, or which can only partially be complied with electronically, is about $100 per case as shipping costs must also be factored in.
Further, when more than one labor hour is required to comply with these requests, the requestor is often charged an hourly rate for the services or the staff tasked with satisfying the query. This rate is most often about $20 USD per hour and is over and above the hard copy costs mentioned above.
To adequately stock our coffers enough to fund roughly 100 case projects, will require approximately $14,000 USD.
Advertising and Marketing:
Despite a good amount of success early on, there is no substitute for ‘spreading the word’ like investing in some specifically targeted advertising and splitting that budget across several trusted marketing mediums.
Since this is a non-physical venture, marketing the shows using internet-based vehicles only makes sense. That being said, since there are several relatively inexpensive methods of placing ads on streaming service true crime channels, I feel it will also be imperative to apply a significant amount of the marketing budget to that medium as well.
For that reason, I intend to administer the sum of $6000 USD to a visual marketing campaign on the television network, Investigation Discovery. I also intend to administer an additional $3000 USD to running a semi-aggressive Facebook advertising campaign since that platform produces, by far, our largest amount of social media buzz. I also intend to administer an additional $1000 USD to a far less aggressive, but still substantial Google Ad-Sense campaign, for a combined total of $10000 USD.
When combined, this equals a total of $29000 USD. Utilizing a 7% tax rate, and accounting for Kickstarter costs and fees, they estimate the total additional cost of $4987 USD bringing the grand total needed to $34987.
Second Level Funding:
Should this campaign exceed the funding level of the initial funding specified above, I intend to use those additional funds to increase the marketing expenditure to approximately double the initially requested level for an additional $10000 USD.
The Hiring of Support Personnel:
Also extremely important would be the hiring of back office support personnel to assist with the deluge of FOIA requests, document cataloging, organization, and insertion onto the website, as well as perhaps general bookkeeping functions, and other clerical duties.
As mentioned previously, the process of requesting government information via the FOIA process is, by definition, cumbersome and time-consuming, labor-intensive work. Fielding, sorting, scanning, and adding that information onto our website once it is received, can be even more so. So far, I have been doing this myself with some small assistance from others involved in the productions, however, it has quickly become clear that if this endeavor is going to be maintained in perpetuity, we will need dedicated support personnel whose primary task it will be to submit requests, process, organize, and then insert this avalanche of information into its proper place for audience perusal.
If we bring on 2 dedicated people to do this part-time, at an estimated annual salary of $30,000 USD each, we will need a total of $30,000 USD to fund their salaries for a total of six months.
This would bring the initially requested total to $69000 USD and would approximately double the amount of projected tax and fees expenditures to roughly $9880 USD, thereby making the total second-level funding amount $78880 USD.
Should this round of funding exceed expectations further, Additional monies would go to compensating our staff, paying to have more notorious and household name-type professionals contribute to some of our shows, and occasionally hiring experts in various fields to meticulously explain evidentiary minutiae that pertain to a certain case (things such as plant DNA, diatoms in water, maternal mitochondrial DNA, etc..).
The amounts of those payments would depend on the amount of surplus to consider.
While we’ve demonstrated that a successful podcast can be bootstrapped on a shoestring budget, it’s also true that such an endeavor will only go so far before larger infusions of financial resources, as well as a dramatic uptick in necessary labor hours, become necessary to continuously lubricate the machine.
Since the shows are all already in production and quality content is being created on a regularly scheduled basis, there is no risk that the project will not come to fruition. As such, potential risks to this endeavor are substantially different than the usual project investment scenario.
The primary risk then, is that top-tier advertisers and high-level corporate sponsors will resist or be hesitant to fund campaigns with The Veritas 7 because, while I and our staff are doing the best we can with a micro-budget, the sound quality and editing capabilities of low-cost equipment and software are noticeable to the trained ear.
Another potential risk, though not as prominent as the first, is that the currently uncompensated volunteer staff and interns could potentially become disillusioned, overburdened, or feel unappreciated if the company doesn’t grow into organic profitability fast enough to thwart the idea of taking what they learned here and re-investing it into paid positions elsewhere.
Please keep in mind that I am 100% dedicated to growing this family of related podcasts into a media juggernaut. I am also 100% dedicated to making sure that our backers are satisfied with the fruit of their investments and will remain open to any ideas, concepts, or strategies any backers might care to offer at any point during or after this campaign.