Crime Beat Radio is a weekly show hosted by Ron Chepesiuk, a true crime author who has a bunch of books out on Colombian gangsters, Mafioso’s and inner-city drug lords. The show has been very successful and is coming up on its fifth anniversary. To mark the occasion Gorilla Convict sat down with Ron Chepesiuk for this interview about Crime Beat.
It’s real amazing to do a show week after week for five years and never feel like we’ve had a bad show. This is not my day job and I’m really busy so I could put a lot more time into the show. But I’m very proud of what we’ve done. That pride is validated by the listeners who tell us they love our show.
Please provide some background on yourself?
Well, I’m a native of Thunder Bay, Canada, I’m an optioned screenwriter, award-winning author, documentary producer and director, publisher. I’ve published thirty-five books and more than 4,000 articles that have appeared in 350 plus magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and USA Today.
Other credits include a two-time Fulbright Scholar to Bangladesh and Indonesia, a consultant to the History Channel’s Gangland TV series and a former instructor position in UCLA’s Extension Journalism program. Three of my books have been optioned for movies, and my documentary on the Frank Matthews story has been licensed for viewing by the Discovery Channel. I’ve also appeared as an expert interviewee on several crime shows airing on History, Biography, Discovery, ID, Starz and other cable channels.
What is the show’s format?
We usually have a set format. About eight to ten minutes to warm up the audience. That includes intro of guest, letter to editor, what have we been up, next week’s show. The interview itself is 40 to 40 minutes and we allow some time to talk about how listeners can get the book and connect to the author. We usually end with a short segment called “Dumb Crooks,” which reminds our listeners that crime doesn’t pay.
Well, we have had going on 300 guests. It’s really hard to choose because 99.9 percent of our guests have been great. But to choose some– Investigative journalist Gerald Posner is always a great interview. We hit off with George Jung of movie Blow fame. Joe Pistone (aka Donnie Brasco) was a real fun interview. Having public intellectual Noam Chomsky on twice was awesome
What kind of feedback from listeners do you get and do you appreciate it?
I’m fond of saying if you are writer or radio host, your audience will only contact you when you so something they don’t like. We don’t get much feedback in that area, so that’s a good sign. LOL. The feedback we do get fall along this line: We love the show, the variety of guests, keep ‘em coming.
Can crime book authors or people with interesting crime stories approach the show.
We get a lot of people who write in suggesting topics and guests. WE value this imput, even though we have a lot of people wanting to be on the show.
The Crime Beat radio show began January 28, 2011. The idea for the show germinated while I was on a Fulbright Scholarship to Indonesia. In publishing 35 books and more 4,000 articles, I estimate I’ve interviewed more than 16,000 people—everybody from celebrities like Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Evander Holyfield to the man and woman in the street. I love interviewing. I wanted a regular venue to do it and the Crime Beat gig popped up.
How many listeners do you have and how has the show grown?
The show has grown steadily. It takes time to build an audience. While it’s hard to gather accurate stats, our parent station, Artist First, tells us we are averaging between 150,000 to 200,000 listeners from 140 plus countries. Our shows are archived for 24-7 listening, ao we will thousands of more listeners over the years.
What type of stuff do you cover and what niche do you fill?
We cover crime—not the Mob, nor the urban gangster—but crime in all its forms—sex trafficking, police and judicial corruption, drug reform, domestic abuse, bank robbers, steroids in sports, kidnappings, money laundering, etc. We consider Hitler and the Nazi Party the biggest organized crime syndicate in history, so we have had several shows on them.
There are some good crime shows out there, but there isn’t really one like ours—that combines entertainment with intellectual depth. That’s why I’m told we are biggest crime show in WIFI radio.
Who are some of the most notable guests that have appeared on your show?
I’ve mentioned Chomsky, Posner, Jung and Pistone. We’ve also had Henry Hill, Karen Gravano, Sammy’s daughter, several Pulitizer prize winners, among others.
You are a weekly show? How long per episode and do you have any special securing features?
We are a one hour show, but if you miss the live show, all shows are archived for 24-7 listening. You can download the MP3 at your leisure.
Anything you wish to add?
Just that thank you out there for your support and please spread the word about our show. Thank you for this opportunity, Seth. We expect to be interviewed by Gorrilla Convict in five more years. (LOL)