Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

No city history is more emblematic of that than California City. A town with a story of money, power and deception that has to be heard to be believed.

This week, LAist Studios, a Southern California Public Radio podcast development and production studio, announced an upcoming podcast series that will take an investigative look at Kern County's very own California City.

"California City" will premiere July 13 at laist.com, with subsequent episodes releasing every Monday. Host and Southern California Public Radio reporter Emily Guerin will explore the city's history, taking listeners through a web of money, power and deception that started 60 years ago.

"The 'dream' of California City has been sold for 60 years," said Kristen Muller, SCPR's chief content officer.

Presenting the story of California City has been in the works for four years, Muller said. Guerin has chipped away at the project, uncovering why the land that was sold to young couples and hardworking immigrants was virtually worthless, Muller said.

"I think podcast listeners come with a curiosity," Muller said. "For locals, it's a great story about a place they've driven by. California City is a bold name and when people see it, it doesn't fit that idea. It can be a cautionary tale."

"California City" is just one series in the upcoming podcast slate from LAist Studios. Other new titles include "Servant of Pod With Nick Quah," a meta examination of the world of podcasting; "Hollywood, The Sequel," a series of conversations with influential figures in the industry on how Hollywood is handling a world that is rapidly changing; and "California Love," a deeply intimate look at how L.A. has changed through the eyes of journalist and L.A. local Walter Thompson-Hernández.

“With LAist Studios, we are making a commitment to telling stories that go beyond the surface to reflect the rich cultural landscape of Los Angeles, embrace the city’s unmatched eye toward diversity and inclusion, and showcase the resolve and hustle emblematic of Angelenos,” said Herb Scannell, president and chief executive officer of SCPR. “Los Angeles is the American city of the next 20 years, and we want to use this as an opportunity to champion its forward-thinking mentality.”

LAist Studios launched in 2019 with the help of donations from listeners, led by former SCPR board chairman Gordon Crawford's $1.5 million contribution. The goal of the audio-based storytellers is to tell factual stories that reflect the region, Muller said.

Listen to the "California City" trailer at laist.com/podcasts/california-city.php.

Bowen West can be reached at 661-395-7660.

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