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  • Crooked City: Youngstown, OH, New Podcast From Marc Smerling’s Exploring Crime and Corruption in Youngstown, Ohio, Premieres Today
  • Jul 25, 2022

Smerling Hosts the Highly Anticipated Follow up to Hit Podcast Crimetown

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NEW YORK – July 25, 2022 – From the Emmy Award winning and Academy Award nominated storyteller Marc Smerling comes the debut of Crooked City: Youngstown, OH, and Sony Music Entertainment’s new podcast series exploring how the mob came to run a small midwestern city. The sweeping 15-episode series​ premieres today and dives into the complicated history of a Rust Belt town where car bombs and mob murders became so common that in 1963, The Saturday Evening Post called it, “Crimetown, U.S.A.” 

Hosted by Marc Smerling, Crooked City transports the listener to a time when thousands of steel workers crossed the Mahoning River every day to toil in the hot and dirty steel mills of Youngstown, Ohio, then blew off steam Friday nights in mob-run gambling halls, brothels and bars. Illegal gambling was so lucrative that Cleveland and Pittsburgh Mafia families killed to control it. Every part of the government was corrupt. Then, local football hero Jim Traficant ran for sheriff on a promise to clean up the city. 

Crooked City recounts Traficant’s complex story and impact, exposing his corrupt deals with the mob, his run for Congress and his time in Washington D.C. as one by one, the steel mills closed, young people left Youngstown, and the mob became more and more desperate and brutal. Traficant became the Mahoning Valley’s eight-term, twice-indicted Congressman, walking around Capitol Hill in cowboy boots, bell-bottoms, and skinny ties. On the House floor, he preached a mantra of putting “America First.” He threatened to cut off foreign imports to bring the steel industry back, and even asked the military to send troops to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the southern border. When journalists and the FBI began to take a closer look, he complained about fake news, bullied investigators, and yelled at the end of every speech, “Beam me up Scotty. There is no intelligent life down here!” 

Marc Smerling said, “The story of Youngstown, Ohio has all you would want in a sprawling crime story… mob bosses, hit men, crooked cops and politicians, car bombs and heists.  At its center is a sheriff turned congressman who won election after election by enflaming disenfranchised blue-collar workers and dividing us as a nation. Sound familiar?  Was Jim Traficant Youngstown’s savior, or was he just another mobster?”

Crooked City: Youngstown, OH is produced by Ryan Sweikert, Zach St. Louis, Alexa Burke, Katherine Sullivan and Olivia Briley of   

Subscribers to “The Binge” can listen to all fifteen episodes of Crooked City: Youngstown, OH all at once today. Subscribing to “The Binge” channel will also grant listeners access to new podcasts Réunion: Shark Attacks in Paradise, Smoke Screen: Puppy KingpinWitnessed: A Friendly Fire, The Fringe Network: Alien State, and more. Listeners can subscribe to Crooked City: Youngstown, OH on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and wherever you listen to podcasts.

For more information on all our podcasts, follow @SonyPodcasts on Twitter and Instagram.

Crooked City: Youngstown, OH, New Podcast From Marc Smerling’s Exploring Crime and Corruption in Youngstown, Ohio, Premieres Today
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