Ryan McMahon and Jesse Brown

“This….is Thunder Bay” says host Ryan McMahon over a chilling score that sets the stage to detail some of the darkest sides of Thunder Bay. McMahon, in collaboration with producer/writer Jesse Brown, has created a Canadaland podcast that has the whole country talking. Accounts of systemic racism, death, crime, and general immorality have many questioning the attributes of this small northern city that many listeners call home. The five episodes presented in the first season of the podcast are raw, real, and scary. But McMahon is a seasoned podcast host, and while the content is disturbing, his approach is smart and thought-provoking. “What if Thunder Bay isn’t broken; what if it is working just as it’s supposed to?” he asks in the final episode. Given the tone of the podcast—which, to be fair only examines the worst parts of Thunder Bay—we can only hope this is not the case, but he does make a compelling argument.

-Emmerson Poll