West Cork is now a free podcast
One of the most cinematic true crime podcasts you’ll ever hear is now free and easy to hear.
Welcome to Issue #8--a special edition of The Audio Insurgent.
It contains only one item.
Even though I spend a lot of these posts talking about strategy, the business of podcasting, and complaining about advertising...in truth I spend a majority of my time every day working with great teams of makers in the pursuit of making great things.
So let’s talk about a great thing...
[TODAY’S ONE ITEM: WEST CORK]
I honestly cannot believe I get to type these words: West Cork is now available as a free, widely-distributed podcast.
It’s been a long time coming.
West Cork is kind of a mythical presence in the audio world. It was a massive global hit for Audible on a scale unlike anything else before or since. In the U.K., and even more so in Ireland, it is revered, considered a classic. I didn’t fully understand how big a deal it had become until I went over to Dublin to speak at a podcaster conference in late 2018. The session was packed to the walls--and the only reason people showed up was because one of the producers of West Cork was speaking (me). No one seems to be all that interested in anything I had done before or since. All the questions were about West Cork.
West Cork tells the story of how a murder in West Cork, the first in over 100 years, exposed the underbelly of this remote area of coastal Ireland. Things quickly devolved to a boiling point over a steaming pile of deep cultural tension.
West Cork was arguably the pinnacle of what our team created in the early years of Audible Originals and is one of the clearest examples of our vision at the time for how to make distinctive audio: identify an incredible story, nurture and mentor amazing storytellers, team them up with our staff, set the bar for every detail incredibly, incredibly high, and take the time to make it right. It was a massive scale production. Arguably something that a traditional ad-supported podcast platform or production company could never have undertaken. It was a massive gamble, and it paid off.
I’ve never spoken publicly about the end of our time at Audible, and I don’t intend to. But let’s say that our departure pretty much scuttled plans for any wider distribution for West Cork.
So it seemed for years that this amazing story, so beautifully told, would remain locked in an ivory paywalled tower of paid content. Luckily, mostly due to the efforts of the two hosts, it has found its way out again. Acast has released it today.
And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that more people will hear it.
At the time we started it, we were trying to figure out how to tell a true crime story, but avoid all the typical pitfalls and over-worn pathways of the genre. The pitch came to me thanks to an Audible colleague (thanks, Jim). It was clear from reading the story as a one-page treatment that the most interesting aspect of the story wasn't the crime itself, but the community where it happened. What I love about this series is the effect it has on listeners. At the end of episode one, you think you pretty much understand where things are going. But trust me, you have no idea all the twists and unexpected things that await.
I’m also really grateful for West Cork because it introduced me to Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde, whom I consider real friends. It was also where my now co-founder and partner in Magnificent Noise and I learned new ways to work together (Jesse took over and carried this project through its last year and made it into what it is in the process...and yes, this project took multiple years to be born, close to three).
So go and listen. I rarely push our work onto people, but this is an exception.
It really is that good.
Again, you can find all the listening links you could ever need here.
That’s it for now. Again, if you enjoy this, please let me know. If you are getting this via email, you can simply reply to the newsletter and it goes straight to me (and doesn’t post your response anywhere, either, fyi).
If you read this somewhere other than your inbox, could you consider subscribing? It’s free.
Make great things. I’ll be listening.