I recently received an email from one of the hosts of a Kansas City-based podcast on the TV show “The Wire,” which he described as “either the greatest television drama ever, or that cop show your friends never shut up about, depending on who you ask.” Chuckling over his description, I followed up for more information on his podcast. Read on to find out about his co-host’s secret identity and the net worth of 90s rap artist Fredro Starr.
What is the name of your podcast?
Hamsterdam–The Gold Standard in Podcasts about “The Wire”
How did you come up with the name for your show?
Without giving too much away, Hamsterdam is the name of an open-air drug market in the fictionalized Baltimore of the series.
What is your name and what is your role in the podcast? Who else is involved?
I’m Steven Kraus, co-host. I do my best to keep a cool head while repeatedly failing to match wits with my intrepid counterpart, a private man who uses many names (and probably an equivalent number of passports) in order to maintain a shred of his anonymity. Myself, I crave the attention…
How would you describe your podcast? Who is your audience?
We’re a podcast for anybody who loves The Wire, is mildly interested in The Wire, is curious about The Wire, or needs a little something new to listen to while doing the dishes. We love the show, and that’s obvious, but we’re not overly reverent, and we discuss anything that catches our fancy. We’ll talk most about The Wire, but everybody’s welcome to this party.
When was the podcast launched?
We’ve been at this since March, 2016.
What made you want to launch the podcast?
My co-host and I met through my then-girlfriend in 2009. We talked a lot about the TV shows we liked, and our tastes matched up very closely. I happened to mention The Wire, but he had never seen it. Later that year, we were having a cup of coffee and discussing the ills of the world, and The Wire came up again. He hadn’t yet watched it, so it was decided that we would get together and watch a couple episodes so that he could determine what he thought of it. He was immediately hooked, and after that we got together on a weekly basis to make our way through the series. It’s been a perennial topic of conversation ever since, so early in 2016, I suggested we take the discussion to the internet—the home of reasoned discourse.
How often do you publish shows?
Our new episodes are published every other Monday.
What do you discuss in your shows?
We devote every episode to an episode of the show, from beginning to end. We provide a (kind of shoddy) synopsis, and offer our insights and commentary on the goings on. That’s just the beginning, though. Whatever is on our minds, and whatever catches our individual or collective fancy, we’ll talk about it. If that’s politics, short-tenured popes, hair styles, or the net worth of 90s rap artist Fredro Starr, it’s on the menu. For the listener, every episode is an education. That much we can guarantee.
How long are your shows?
Generally 60 to 90 minutes, with the occasional mini-episode.
What equipment and software do you use to produce your show?
We use GarageBand 10.1.6 and a Samson Meteor mic. When we started the show, we recorded on an iPad using the iPad’s built-in mic.
What do you love about podcasting?
It’s great to discuss a mutual interest with a good friend and entertain people at the same time. We never know exactly where each episode is going to go, and we’re often astounded by where it ended and the stops we took along the way. Hopefully, that fun comes through for our listeners.
Tell us about a particularly memorable moment in your show.
My co-host changed identities at the beginning of season two, resulting in confusion for me, and freeing anonymity for him. He revels in making me panic as I try to remember who he is at a given moment.
What podcasts do you enjoy listening to?
- The Dollop
- My Favorite Murder
- Pod of Thunder
- Judge John Hodgman
- Nerds of Nostalgia
- Freakonomics Radio
- How Did This Get Made?
What future plans lay ahead for your show?
The Wire is a limited resource for a podcast, but there are other related topics and shows that we plan to explore when the original series is expended. We have some things in the pipeline for the days ahead!
Where can someone find more information about your podcast?
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hamsterdampod
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hamsterdam/id1109901471
What’s something you love about Kansas City?
I can’t explain exactly, but when I moved here in 2008, once everybody who helped me move left for the day and I closed the door to my apartment and looked around, my first thought was, “I’m home.” KC has felt like my home from the moment I got here, and I’ve loved it ever since.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Come down to Hamsterdam. Check it out one time, and you’ll check it out all the time.
Do you watch “The Wire”? Or do you listen to any other TV-based podcasts? Share with the KC Geek community with a comment below!