‘S-Town,’ the No. 1 podcast, sheds light on the rising suicide rate among middle-aged Americans

Sometimes, stories are only as valuable as the meaning we choose to give them.

The podcast “S-Town” is, according to critics, the new “Serial,” which was a hugely popular podcast that launched in 2014 and investigated the murder of a high school student. “S-Town,” presented by Brian Reed, a producer for “This American Life,” follows the inhabitants of Woodstock, Ala., a small blue-collar Southern town.

It starts when Reed receives a phone call from an antique clock restorer named John B. McLemore. He persuades Reed to take a trip to Woodstock and investigate an alleged murder. And what does the S stand for? “Come down to this pathetic little Baptist shit town and blow it off the map,” McLemore tells Reed.

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