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Alumni Spotlight: Lifelong journalist releases his first podcast series

In 1992, David Raterman graduated from Ohio Univeristy’s Scripps School of Journalism. Throughout his time at OU, Raterman involved himself in activities and had a few foundational internships. 

He interned for iHeart Radio Station in Cincinnati and for the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs. Raterman found himself keeping busy, even taking a fifth year of college. After school, he found himself taking a route that most don’t.

“The internships gave me enough confidence to not worry about starting my career right away,” Raterman said. “I had a wonderful opportunity, shoestring budget. I would work miscellaneous jobs — bartending, taught English, worked humanitarian aid — during the next seven years. As soon as I had enough money, I would travel and did that for months, backpacked around much of the world. So, it's a fascinating experience for a developing writer.” 

Raterman has been self-employed for many years, working on projects throughout his life. At the end of 1999, after seven years of travel, he made his way back to the U.S. and settled down with his wife and started his career. Through his time as a varied writer, he was a features correspondent for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for about 15 years and worked on Miami travel guides for National Geographic

“I'm a left-handed guy who became a writer,” Raterman said. 

About five years ago, Raterman started writing a book, but it has yet to be published. However, that did not stop producers in Los Angeles from hearing about Raterman’s book and wanting to develop it as a TV series. 

“So, it took a couple years, and then COVID set that back, like a lot of projects in the world over the last two years, really,” Raterman said. “But anyhow, I've been moving forward with that whole project, book and TV project. And then there's another book and TV project I'm working on. It's based in Florida.”

In Los Angeles in 2019, Raterman was meeting with both teams of producers interested in his work and, afterward, when going out for drinks, Raterman was asked if he had any other ideas for projects.

“I said, ‘Well, I grew up in Cincinnati, and I went to Ohio University and, in the middle, is where a family of eight was shot to death in their sleep in 2016.’ And so we talked about some details,” Raterman said. “And then I didn't hear anything; there was no follow-up for a couple months. Then this lady, this producer, messaged me later. She had gone to a new production company and asked if I'd be interested in a podcast series.”

Raterman was then contracted by Cavalry Audio, which would help him record his first podcast. The podcast, The Pink Moon Murders, is an eight-episode limited podcast series.

“It's a whodunit and then it becomes a ‘whydunit’ and ‘Who are the various suspects at the beginning?’ and then, of course, ‘Who are the defendants who were charged?’” Raterman said.

In April 2021, Raterman was back in Los Angeles to narrate the podcast when he received a text that one of the suspects pleaded guilty, so he decided to make a bonus episode, making the eight-episode podcast into nine episodes.

“I made several trips back to southern Ohio, interviewing people and just researching more and then put together that ninth episode,” Raterman said. “We'll see if I do some additional bonus episodes.”

Raterman said making a podcast about these topics has been all about balancing and tempering his professionalism.

“This is not fiction,” Raterman said. “These are real people who were killed, and I've interviewed a number of their loved ones, including direct relatives. I see them all the time. In total, I was at more than 30 hearings in the Pike County Common Pleas Courthouse.”

Research, writing and narrating were the responsibilities Raterman had in this process. The release of the podcast's first and second episodes was Feb. 22. Every week, one new episode will be released until all nine are out. Through his release, Raterman had to face new learning curves, especially with audio. However, he persevered through the challenges.

“I've never done a podcast before,” Raterman said. “This is new for me. It's a completely new medium for me. I enjoyed it.”

Raterman’s podcast can be listened to on Apple Music, Spotify, iHeart and YouTube.

@kkayyben

kb084519@ohio.edu


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