Reporter Joanne Faryon was working on a story about the thousands of people being kept alive by machines in California's care centers when one case piqued her interest.
Faryon was visiting the Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility in San Diego when she came across a young Mexican man who had been in a car crash in 1999 and was said to be in a vegetative state, kept alive by a feeding tube, in diapers, and unable to communicate for 15 years and identified only as Sixty Six Garage.
Sixty Six Garage was thought to be the place the truck he had been riding in had been taken after the crash, and the victim was assumed to be in the country illegally. (Faryon would later discover the unusual way people with no known names are given identifiers such as Sixty Six Garage by their caregivers.)
Faryon eventually quit her job at KPBS-TV and inewsource.com with the intention to create a podcast out of Sixty Six Garage's plight and her investigation of it. She was an independent investigative reporter while covering the story for the Los Angeles Times. What she discovered was life-changing for not just Garage but also for one of his "vent farm" roommates, Omar, who had been run over by two cars while riding his bike one day and was also listed as vegetative.
The reporter spent weeks that turned into months that turned into years at the facility — mostly at Garage's bedside, where she engaged him by counting in Spanish and with toys for babies — and traveled to interview sources in an attempt to identify the patient. Her passion for the story held her there, and what she discovered eventually set her free.
The work that Faryon did is a perfect example of the power of podcasting when it's done properly. It's also a testament to good, investigative journalism so powerful that it rights a wrong, or in this case, two wrongs.
Room 20 is an inspiring podcast but it's not overly sappy. Faryon is a compassionate storyteller and here's hoping she never stops looking for stories like this, stories that deserve to be told about people who long ago lost hope, people who've fallen through the cracks in an overburdened health care system.
They are out there and they can't speak for themselves.
Listen to the trailer for podcast producer Wondery's Room 20 here: http://arkansasonline.com/917podcast/.
COUNTRY MUSIC PODCAST
iHeartPodcast Network will introduce a new scripted country music podcast that it's calling Make It Up As We Go. A Billboard magazine report on Sept. 5 said Scarlett Burke, a real-life singer-songwriter, will play a Nashville, Tenn., newcomer, and she'll be working with actor David Arquette and native Arkansan Bobby Bones, among others.
Burke and "Jingle Jared" Gutstadt, president of music marketing agency Jingle Punks, came up with the podcast and Gutstadt will also produce music for the show, the magazine report said. Arquette will play Burke's vocal coach; it's unclear what Bones' role will be, but he's likely to play himself.
"The goal of the podcast is to break a song. That's what I do every day, this is just another outlet for that," Bones is quoted as saying of the new endeavor in an Insideradio.com "Podcast News Daily" report.
Bones is the darling of country radio with the syndicated Bobby Bones Show, and he charmed his way through a recent season of TV's The Voice. He's also touring with his musical comedy act Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots, a show that stopped at Little Rock's Robinson Center Performance Hall on Saturday. Bones is no stranger to the podcasting world: He has one already called Bobby Cast, through which he lets songwriters tell stories about creating their songs.
"It's the story of women in music: behind the board, working in studios and writing songs," Burke told Billboard. "I think it's creating awareness for women in music. Our end goal is to do that story justice and to tell it right."
According to Insideradio.com, iHeart said earlier this year it's working on another scripted country podcast called Bear and a Banjo, about an Americana music group whose debut album will be tied to the podcast. Actor Dennis Quaid will narrate and serve as executive producer; Bill Flanagan, author and creator of Crossroads on CMT and VH1's Storytellers, did the writing. Also contributing music are producer T Bone Burnett, with lyrical help from Bob Dylan.
MORE, MORE, MORRISON
Fans of Dateline NBC and its star correspondent Keith Morrison will be pumped to learn that he is lending his voice to another podcast for the show. Vulture.com reports that Dateline will drop The Thing About Pam on Wednesday. Die-hard Dateline devotees will recognize the subject of the podcast; Pamela Hupp, serving a life sentence for murdering a disabled man apparently to cover up a previous killing, has been featured on four episodes of the TV show.
"From the beginning, it appears that this woman has been plotting and planning and blaming everyone else for the crimes that she committed," Morrison told Vulture.com. "It's a pattern and we keep seeing that pattern, even now that we're talking to new witnesses who have known her over the years and discovered the deceptions and frauds that she employed. But the spine of the story is, Who Killed Betsy Faira? And I think we know the answer," Morrison said of Hupp's alleged original victim.
On. Sept. 27, the TV show will air another new episode about the Pamela Hupp case. On a lighter note, Vulture.com asked Morrison about his distinctive voice, the storytelling style of his that drips with dread and drama and that audiences have demanded more of.
"I just talk that way. My whole life," Morrison said. Or has he?
Podcast host and producer Stitcher has announced that on Oct. 16, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, two stars of the TV cult favorite The Office, will host a weekly podcast called Office Ladies, in which they will break down an episode of the popular show from the past. Fischer and Kinsey played Pam Beesly and Angela Martin, respectively, on the series.
Style on 09/17/2019
CORRECTION: Reporter Joanne Faryon was working for KPBS-TV and inewsource.com when she quit to make the Room 20 podcast, and she was an independent investigative reporter while covering the story for the Los Angeles Times. The podcast was produced by LA Times Studios with support from Neon Hum Media. An earlier version of this story contained the errors.
Print Headline: Room 20 reporter shows podcasters how it's done