Ashley Flowers: The Queen Of True Crime

19 mins read

Ashley Flowers is perhaps best known as the host of Crime Junkie—a podcast she co-hosts with her best friend Brit Prawat. Launched in 2017, it’s the place where those who “can’t get enough true crime” go to “find their people.” 

It has since garnered over 319,000 reviews on Apple alone with an average 4.8-star rating, and it consistently ranks at the top of the podcast charts. Ashley has co-hosted several other shows as well, including Parcast’s Supernatural with Ashley Flowers, International Infamy, and Very Presidential

In 2017, Ashley became the founder and chief officer of her media company, audiochuck, which promises “edge-of-your-seat storytelling.” It’s now an award-winning media and podcast production company known for its “standout content and storytelling across different genres.” 

Ashley and her team are passionate about leveraging the platform to “make a positive difference in people’s lives by using our time, money, and resources to advocate for victims and families” of the crimes they cover. 

To date, audiochuck’s 16 podcasts have generated 1,266,000,000 (that’s BILLION!) total downloads, and their 428,400 reviews average 4.5 stars.

By all standards, Ashley is an influencer. 

She uses her position as such to “inspire people to do right.” 

“I remember when I first realized our ability to really affect and move others. We released an episode on a young woman titled “Kaysera Stops Pretty Places.” One of the calls to action for that episode was for people to sign a petition to have her case reopened. Now, I knew how many listeners we had for the show, but getting people to act is hard. The petition had 6,000 signatures before the episode aired. I was hoping we could get that number up into the tens of thousands—I honestly thought that would be amazing. 

“After the dust had settled, we had over 140,000 people sign the petition! That’s when I remember saying to myself, ‘Oh my gosh! Motivating that many people to take action and help a cause we feel strongly about is absolutely incredible.’” 

Without question, Ashley has accomplished what most podcasters can only dream about—she has turned her passion into a wildly successful business. And she’s done so with a relatively small team. 

“This was never just a side project or hustle for me, but I also never imagined it turning into what it is today. We are a team of about 30 right now, and each of them are incredible. I tell them all the time that we are small, but mighty. We’re doing things that companies with 200 employees are doing. And I credit that to every one of us deeply believing in our mission.” 

Ashley entered the world of podcasting while utilizing her degree in biomedical research. As a medical sales rep, she spent a great deal of time driving—sometimes up to eight hours one way. She’d already turned to audio books to pass the time, so when she found podcasting, she said, she “loved it even more.” 

“It felt so much more casual, personal, and intimate than an audio book,” she explained. “I loved how it felt like I was riding around with people and having a conversation. The podcasters I listened to and the stories they told felt so accessible. I would spend 20 to 30 hours a week listening to podcasts. And that’s how I fell in love with podcasting.”

Like so many fans of true crime, one of the first shows Ashley listened to came highly recommended by her friend Brit—Serial. She recalls consuming it for hours at a time, and it further propelled her interest in the medium.

As a self-described “true fan of true crime,” she naturally chose that category when she became a podcaster herself. It’s an area she’s been interested in for as long as she can remember. 

“I can’t speak for every listener,” she said, “but as a woman, I often see myself represented in the victim. I also look to these stories for an education. By diving into them, I feel like I’m being hypervigilant: What happened? How did things go wrong? How can I make sure I don’t put myself in a situation similar to that? It’s a way of protecting myself.

“In terms of hosting, I didn’t get into this genre because it was hot or popular. It was because I really cared about it. I made the show that I was looking for. I am my listener. I really believe in what I’m doing. And I think some of our success can be attributed to the genuineness that shines through. What we do is bring attention to these cases. The more people who are talking about them, the better.” 

Ashley is equally dedicated to her listeners, which also contributes to her ability to stand out from her competition in the True Crime category.

“I’ve always been super invested in the fan base. I didn’t want to put something out that was one-way. I wanted to continue the type of two-way conversation I felt like I was getting in my car when I first listened to podcasts. It’s important to me that our listeners feel like they have a relationship with us.”

Part of that fan engagement includes asking listeners what they want to hear about and what they care about—and then delivering it. Considering her following, the strategy works. 

In fact, in an effort to ensure the two-way dialogue, Ashley created a fan club for her Crime Junkie audience in 2018. Her listeners chose the nomenclature for each level: “The weird ones,” “The rude ones,” and “The ones who stay alive.” 

“It’s a perfect example of what I mean by listening to what they want and what resonates with them. The fan club is a kind of direct line to us. We also do polls all the time. What kind of content do you want? What causes are you interested in? What do you think of these new shows? We’re getting constant feedback, and we listen to it, pivoting and adjusting along the way.”

That mindset—being acutely aware of what her fans desire—goes hand in hand with her respect for the victims of the stories she highlights and their families. 

In fact, social responsibility is the foundation of Ashley’s work.

“If I am going to have a show about the worst time in people’s lives, and make a living from it, I need to make sure I’m giving back to that person, that family, and the true-crime community. Whether that means including a call to action, donating to a cause, or ensuring there is something to be learned from every episode, we are constantly considering the survivors, making sure that by telling these stories, we’re not retraumatizing victims and families. If creators are sharing stories in a purely sensational way, we, as listeners, need to demand more of them.” 

While true crime will always be audiochuck’s “heart and soul,” Ashley has big plans for her company going forward. She intends to continue adding shows to the network while branching out into different genres—specifically fiction, a personal passion as a new author. She admits that this is also in part to offset the often-dark world of true crime with something lighter. 

“I get so deep into each case we cover. I can recall almost every episode we’ve ever done. They live within me once I am in them. Right now, on The Deck, we’re working on an episode about a young girl named Rachel Runyon. She was just a few years old when she was taken from behind her backyard and found murdered. This is the first case I’ve worked on about a really young girl since having my daughter, and it’s been extra tough putting myself in the position of her mother.”

It’s no surprise that Ashley looks to other places—like writing—to bring her joy. Her new book, All Good People Here, breaks away from true crime to enter the world of “twisty fiction mystery.” Set for release on August 16, it’s about a journalist who uncovers her hometown’s dark secrets when she becomes obsessed with the unsolved murder of her childhood neighbor—and the disappearance of another girl twenty years later. 

Her other big goal for audiochuck? “In a perfect world,” she said, “I’d love to see one of our shows progress into the television and film industry.” 

The world may never be perfect, but it’s certainly not difficult to imagine many of Ashley’s shows landing on television or the silver screen. After all, this Queen of True Crime is all about doing good… and that’s precisely what the world needs most. 

Podcasts Produced by Audiochuck:

Anatomy of Murder: A weekly true-crime podcast examining homicide cases and paths to justice for the victims. 

Armored: Hitting a moving target is hard, but for some criminals, it’s their specialty. Dive deep into the most notorious armored truck robbery cases in North America and beyond to figure out what fuels these perpetrators and the investigators whose job it is to catch them.

CounterClock: In order to tell the story of a crime, you have to turn back time. Every season, investigative journalist Delia D’Ambra digs deep into a mind-bending mystery with the hopes of reigniting interest in a decades-old homicide case.

Crime Junkie: If you can never get enough of true crime, congratulations—you’ve found your people.

Dark Arenas: Have you ever thought about whose job it is to track international fugitives, hunt child abductors, conduct espionage, or pull human remains from concealed mass graves? Hear firsthand accounts of what it’s like to investigate the darkest crimes and most violent criminals in society.

Full Body Chills: Ever miss those spooky campfire stories you heard growing up? Well, gather round, and listen close.

It’s a Wonderful Lie: A short-form comedy podcast that imagines the hilarious “truth” hidden in your holiday newsletters. For anyone who has rolled their eyes at receiving a Christmas update. 

OC Swingers: When the charges against Newport Beach orthopedic surgeon and former Bravo reality star Dr. Grant Robicheaux and his girlfriend, substitute teacher Cerissa Riley, were revealed back in September of 2018, the world gawked at the unlikely criminals. Things only got weirder from there. 

Park Predators: Sometimes, the most beautiful places hide the darkest secrets. 

Poe: Edgar Allen Poe is known as the original king of spook. And his 19th century stories can still evoke just as much fear 200 years later. 

Precedent: Every Crime Junkie knows the standard vocabulary: Amber Alert, 911 dispatch, Miranda Warning, Brady Disclosure. But do you know the story behind how these terms were coined? Discover the real-life tragedies that set a precedent for how the criminal justice system would operate for years to come.

Red Ball: From the creative minds behind Crime Junkie and with participation from the Indiana State Police, Ashley Flowers takes you alongside the reinvestigation into one of Indianapolis’s most infamous unsolved cases.

Red Collar: When we think of white-collar criminals, we picture a CEO getting caught up in the latest financial scandal. But there is a subgroup within these seemingly nonviolent offenders who are never discussed in mainstream media—the white-collar criminals who kill.

Solvable: Find the answers to unsolved mysteries. With the cooperation of the investigative agency, Solvable takes the listener behind closed doors and speaks directly to the past and current personnel who are responsible for investigating these crimes.

Strangeland: Re-examines cases in immigrant neighborhoods.

The Deck: For years, some law enforcement agencies have replaced the faces of traditional playing card decks with images of missing and murdered people and distributed those cards in prisons hoping inmates would come forward with information needed to crack these cold cases wide open. Now, audiochuck is dealing you in. 

Pull Quotes: 

 

  1. Ashley and her team are passionate about leveraging the platform to “make a positive difference in people’s lives by using our time, money, and resources to advocate for victims and families” of the crimes they cover. 
  2. Motivating that many people to take action and help a cause we feel strongly about is absolutely incredible.
  3. I didn’t get into this genre because it was hot or popular. It was because I really cared about it.
  4. If I am going to have a show about the worst time in people’s lives, and make a living from it, I need to make sure I’m giving back to that person, that family, and the true-crime community.
  5. I get so deep into each case we cover. I can recall almost every episode we’ve ever done. They live within me once I am in them.

 

Ashley Listens To: 

Dead End

New Jersey politics is not for the faint of heart. But the brutal killing of John and Joyce Sheridan, a prominent couple with personal ties to three governors, shocks even the most cynical operatives. The mystery surrounding the crime sends their son on a quest for truth. Dead End is a story of crime and corruption at the highest levels of society in the Garden State.

Starved Rock Murders

In the winter of 1960 three women were found brutally murdered in a cave at the Starved Rock State Park. After months of dead ends, a manhunt ensued that ultimately pinned the crime on a 21-year-old dishwasher at the Starved Rock State Park Lodge, Chester Weger. In spite of contradictory physical evidence and under immense pressure from the police, Chester confessed to the crime. He has spent the last 60 years in prison, maintaining his innocence to this day.

Swindled 

Utilizes narrative storytelling, archival audio, and immersive soundscapes to explore true stories of white-collar criminals, con artists, and corporate evil. From corruption and fraud to Ponzi schemes and environmental disasters, these financially motivated crimes have shaped our world in unimaginable ways. All in the name of greed.

 

Steve Olsher

Steve Olsher is known as the world’s foremost reinvention expert. Famous for helping individuals and corporations become exceptionally clear on their WHAT – that is, the ONE thing they were created to do – his practical, no-holds-barred approach to life and business propels his clients towards achieving massive profitability while also cultivating a life of purpose, conviction, and contribution.

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