Image Source: Getty/Michael Tran
The podcast My Favorite Murder, hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, has become a bonafide empire, even spinning off into a podcast network. But fans of the show say they haven't heard from the hosts for months.As outlined in a profile in Elle, over the past five years the hosts of My Favorite Murder turned their true crime fascination into a big business through their podcast. By 2018, they'd started their own podcast network, called Exactly Right, and have their own fan club called the Fan Cult, which costs $40 annually to join. The podcast is still in the top five in the Apple Podcast charts for True Crime podcasts, and is the 14th most downloaded podcast overall.
If you look at the reviews of the podcast on Apple Podcasts, they tell a different story. Dozens of one or two star reviews from the past few weeks lament the lack of new episodes. Many of these reviews acknowledge that the hosts are on a break for the summer, as noted in some of the episode descriptions for the guest hosted episodes meant to fill in the gap while Kilgariff and Hardstark are out.In early June, the episode descriptions for new podcasts indicated that Kilgariff and Hardstark would be taking a few months off. Initially, the language in these descriptions said that the guest hosted episodes would last for June and July. By mid July, the language had changed to the more vague "summer."Given that Hardstark has posted on Instagram about using this summer to go to a "trauma treatment camp", only a small minority of fans resent either host for taking a break from the show. It's clear that what's frustrating for them is the lack of communication. Fans on Reddit, Facebook and reviews of the show on Apple Podcasts say that not only was this break not clearly communicated, they have little faith that the show will ever come back.
"I hate to unsubscribe but I don’t think new episodes are ever coming and if I wanted to hear other people do the podcast I’d listen to a different show," reads one of the recent reviews of the show on Apple Podcasts.Motherboard reached out to My Favorite Murder to ask about their hiatus but did not receive an immediate response.On the subreddit, another fan asks whether or not it's unusual to take a hiatus but not announce a return date."Obviously it's fine that they are taking a summer off! I encourage it! But... and hear me out... I listen to A LOT. of podcasts. Like, a lot. Every other one that I listen to, whether it be seasons or breaks or what, announces a return date," they write. "Are they not doing that? Did I miss it?"Fans of My Favorite Murder have empathy for Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, but their empathy has a limit. For fans who have joined the Fan Cult, which gives them access to exclusive weekly content and a fan forum, many say that they want Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark to take care of their mental health. But they also feel like they are not getting something that they paid for."It’s the 'ghosting' that makes paying fans feel disrespected. Me? I’m not paying, and I’m okay with listening to other true crime shows and understand how hard this must have been under quarantine," wrote one fan in a comment thread on the My Favorite Murder Facebook page. "But I come to this page with the hopes of hearing an update of when or whether they’ll be back. If it’s over…that’s okay, but I miss them. Like all of you, I am very fond of them and feel comfort listening to their banter and personal stories, like they are old friends."Over half a decade, Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark built up a business based on empathy for other people, especially people whose mental health issues leads to an obsession with morbid things, they told Elle this February. "There’s an empathy, because our whole lives, we’ve been worried about these things, and really aware of how vulnerable we are," Hardstark told Elle. “The show feels like a way we’ve all come together as this group to acknowledge that with each other, and not be ashamed of what other people would call rubbernecking."Fans of My Favorite Murder do seem to have banded together in their vulnerability--and are beginning to share new true crime podcasts to listen to with each other, just in case this one never comes backs.