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While true crime podcasts are popular, real crime is less entertaining. Community radio is making such conversations engaging.

Podcasts like Serial have made audio programming about criminal justice interesting to the mainstream. Indeed, true crime podcasts can give you a really great glimpse into how the criminal justice system, prosecution and the matter of juries and convictions really work.

Community radio has a variety of examples of legal and procedural programming that may be of interest those seeking a greater understanding of our world, and the justice system.

Radio station KFCF reminds you that the banality of what happens in courtrooms each day is far more intriguing than the lowest common denominator stuff. The Fresno community radio station produces Valley Views on The Law in co-operation with the San Joaquin College of Law, a regional law school. Professors Jeffrey G. Purvis and Justin Atkinson host Valley Views of The Law and get into a range of leal topics related to the community.

Marfa Public Radio is one of the many stations in the state to air the Texas Standard. While it’s not exclusively criminal justice, it serves up plenty of looks at court and the state legislature. Funny, interesting and evocative, Texas Standard collaborates with many stations, including Marfa’s.

For many, true crime podcasts have sparked new interest in our legal system. To be clear, Serial is the exception though. Many true-crime podcasts walk a problematic line of serving little purpose beyond building audience and making money off suffering. Take the Valentine’s Day episode of Sword and Scale, which attempts to make the national epidemic of intimate partner violence into entertainment, complete with airing kids’ 911 calls as they witness mothers being killed, without a single word about violence against women. This kind of approach, sadly, isn’t unusual.

Many community radio stations offer legal advice and analysis programs. These outlets present local experts and are worthy of your time as well.

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