Irish Podcast Awards 2023: Specialist Award

While podcasting is increasingly attracting big-name stars and spawning high-profile shows, it’s important to remember the ability of the medium to nurture smaller niche audiences. The Specialist category is about highlighting the achievements of shows with less than 5,000 monthly downloads, with a targeted approach to serving their community of listeners.

Winner: Promenade

The intimacy of the stories told on Promenade has made the podcast a firm favourite since its first episode aired in November 2021. Each personal story is told by one voice, with a production soundscape that makes you feel like it’s directed to an audience of one. 

Although the podcast’s stories work in isolation, in season two the tales flow from one to the next as if they’re tracks on an immaculately produced album. Listeners are taken from a rooftop in modern-day New York City, to Budapest in the 1930s and then on to Ireland in the 1970s. Whether the topic is about Holocaust-era survival or coming to terms with gender identity, each tale is beautifully told and is sure to stay with you.

The stories give you insights into the unique lives of mothers, fathers, grandparents and carers. Yet listening to the series as a whole shows that no matter our circumstances, we’re ultimately not all that different.

Highly commended: The Cinemile

A poster-child for independent podcasting, The Cinemile’s true strength is the warmth and friendliness exuded by hosts Dave and Cathy Cullen, which has built the show a loyal following. That following supports it through a healthy community of paid supporters on Patreon, who have stuck with the show even while lockdowns resulted in the pair having to adapt the show’s signature format.