An Investigation Into 23 Florida Murder Cases Here

Dacia Johnson
Melissa E. Holsman
Jan. 28, 2019 - "I'd say, just start doing it. Start recording, playing with audio and guests and figure everything out as you go."
Since 2018
News & Politics

►Tell us about you and your podcast

My name is Dacia Johnson, I'm the producer and co-host of Uncertain Terms along with writer and co-host, Melissa E. Holsman. Melissa, a veteran legal affairs reporter, has spent years digging into the cases of juveniles who committed murder — sometimes decades ago — as they return to court for resentencing and could go free. What originally was an investigation into the 23 Florida cases has become a podcast where Melissa and I explore the murders, the impact on victims' families, brain science and the law change that led to the resentencing of hundreds of Florida killers.


►Why & how did you start this podcast? 

We decided these stories were so incredible that they needed to be told beyond pen and paper. With zero experience, I created a podcast studio in our small newsroom and taught myself how to edit and produce. Meanwhile, Melissa setup interviews with victims' families and collected archived audio. We attended weeks of court hearings and after more than a year, Uncertain Terms was born.


►How'd you find the time and funding to do this podcast?

We both work full time in a newsroom and were given time, flexibility and freedom to create this five-part series. We were given $1200 for equipment and programs and a small closet to convert into a studio. Our first season took more than a year to produce. New episodes released every Thursday in January. We're working on season two now and hope to roll it out within a few months.


►What do you gain from podcasting?        

We don't currently have sponsorships but are open to them. For us, creating a podcast was a new way for us to tell stories and do "good journalism" as they call it. We want people to know what's happening with these law changes and how many people are affected -- especially the victims' families.


►How does your podcasting process look like? 

We record in audacity and I do my cutting and full audio edits in there. Then I switch to Adobe Premier to piece the episodes together and add music. Every episode contains archived audio, some as old as 1979, interviews done in person or by phone, court audio and conversations between us, the hosts.


►How do you market your show?

We're on most major podcast apps and heavily use twitter. About half our audience comes from Apple Podcasts. Social has been helpful and one of our only marketing channels. We're a pretty small gig, two of us created the podcast and we get a little boost from our news site, and our sister sites all over Florida including Naples Daily News and Florida Today. Twitter:


►What advice would you share with aspiring (new) podcasters?

Podcasting is a lot of work! If you have the passion, it's worth it. I'd say, just start doing it. Start recording, playing with audio and guests and figure everything out as you go. Because podcasts are audio-only, let your personality come through. Personally, I love podcasts because I feel like I'm sitting around a table while my friends are telling stories. Join Facebook groups, listen and listen and listen to other podcasts to learn what you like and what you don't like. YouTube has a ton of free videos for times you get stuck when editing or how to get your show on different platforms.

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►Where can we learn more about you & your podcasts?

Updated: 8 months ago