Photo courtesy of Scott Weinberger
We go behind the mic with Chappaqua’s Scott Weinberger, creator of one of the most popular podcasts worldwide.
When Scott Weinberger worked as a deputy sheriff in Broward County, Florida, worldwide fame from a bone-chilling podcast wasn’t an obvious goal. After a spot on the show Cops and a lengthy career with NBC and CBS, Weinberger ended up earning three Emmy Awards and a dozen nominations, founding his own company, Weinberger Media, and creating and executive producing the hit Discovery show On the Case with Paula Zahn, which is now in its 26th season. However, Weinberger might be best known for his Webby Award-winning podcast, Anatomy of Murder, which he co-hosts with Anna Sigga Nicolazzi and debuted at number one on Apple Podcasts (yes, number one as in more downloads than any other podcast in the world). Now reaching an incredible 122 million ears, Weinberg discusses his hair-raising work and what attracts people to true crime.
How does your past influence your current work?
I come from a law enforcement and journalism background, so my approach to storytelling is a little different than the average person. I didn’t go to journalism school; I am not a writer. So, my perspective is more about being an insider than it is about necessarily just being a good storyteller. Although I do think I am and have become a better storyteller, it really comes from me asking, “What would interest me as a viewer? What are the details I would like to hear about? Even if a story has already been out there, what perspective can I give to that story that maybe somebody else couldn’t?”
Tell me about Anatomy of a Murder.
I really enjoy telling stories. I really enjoy talking about my passion for law enforcement and, most importantly, my passion for victims. I have always seen myself as a victims’ advocate and I have always been in a situation in my law enforcement career dealing directly with victims and solving problems for them. These are the things that made me excited about my work. So, interviewing people for the podcast brought me right back to my law enforcement days and dealing directly, hands-on with homicide cases. I just fell in love with the process. So, 143 episodes in and 122 million downloads later, the show continues to be in the top 10 and I still love doing it.
What do you think attracts people to true crime?
I think people just can’t turn away from a car wreck. It’s just a natural thing. They don’t want to be in it, but they are interested in seeing it. Also, especially in homicide cases, the majority of listeners and TV viewers are women, like 80% — it’s a crazy number. But the level of retention is also nuts. So I will say this: I don’t think it’s about the murder, it’s about the marriage. I think women think, that guy sleeping next to me, is he really capable of doing what I just watched on TV? So, it’s almost about learning the process and understanding the signals and the signs of how these things take place. So, [listeners] become very educated and they are more educated now than ever.
What lies ahead for you?
We are going to continue working together on this show but, a few months ago, I also launched a new company called Authentic Wave, which is going to be a network of other victim-centric shows that I am going to produce, not necessarily host. These are going to be podcasts that can then be potentially transferred to screen. I am really excited about raising authentic voices and highlighting people who have specific knowledge in a genre that is continuing to grow.