New podcast: Two guys on Block Island

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 8:15am
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Rich Tretheway and Marc Scortino look like a comedy team. Tretheway is well over six feet tall, bearded, closely cropped hair. Scortino is short, muscular, with a bushy head of hair and facial hair that looks like it could use a trim.

They also sound like a comedy team, easily bouncing off each other when they speak, laughing at each other’s jokes, an easy banter that comes from knowing each other for years.

That banter in real life will come in handy as Scortino and Tretheway launch a new podcast about Block Island life called “Two Guys On Block Island.” (Just Google the name and it’ll pop up for your listening pleasure.)

Tretheway and Scortino sat down with The Block Island Times to talk about their new podcast.

“It was Rich’s idea,” said Scortino, “He said, ‘Let’s do a podcast.’” They started planning it about a year ago.

“I reached out to Marc. We get along — and he had sound equipment,” said Tretheway.

“The way I remember it is that we were hanging out at the door at Capt. Nick’s” — the pub Scortino and his wife Katie used to run. “It wasn’t busy. We were shooting the shit, we were going back and forth and chatting people up.” It doesn’t hurt that both have backgrounds in performing. Tretheway has a long list of movie credits and Scortino is a singer/songwriter. They both started on the island as “restaurant guys,” said Scortino. “And we both started our careers on Block Island.”

The idea originally was to call it “Two Guys On An Island,” without being too specific, but they both realized that the personalities on the island, and it’s long and rich history, put Block Island front and center.

They’ve launched their premier podcast, titled, appropriately, “Where the hell is Block Island?” which contains a little island history, a little island context, and a little bit about themselves and what their intentions are with the broadcast. Tretheway said they literally went in to set up the sound equipment, turned it on, and with only a broad outline of what they wanted to touch on, recorded the premier episode in one take. By internet standards, it was an immediate hit, racking up 1,000 downloads in a mere 48 hours. Their goal is to record a 45-minute episode each week, with the newest one dropping on Wednesdays.

Their intentions are to give people a broader platform to talk about their role on the island, what they do — along with a question that will be a staple of the program: How did people end up here?

“Their first guest on the second podcast is Jessica Willi, Executive Director of the Block Island Tourism Council, School Committee member, and co-owner of Capt. Nick’s.

“We want to give a platform to those people so they can explain what it is they’re trying to do,” said Tretheway.

They want the podcast to be convivial. “It is not our intention to piss people off,” said Scortino. “What we want to put out there is that we have similar issues out here as other places, but it’s under a microscope on Block Island.” They both describe Block Island, overall, as “a decade or two behind” Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, “but we’re catching up,” they both said. In other ways, the island is a leader: citing conservation and the Wind Farm as examples.

“We’re trying to bring a little peace,” said Tretheway.

“We don’t need to trash everything,” said Scortino.

The other aspect of island life they want to spotlight is how issues resonate more personally in a small community.

“We have a food bank, we have homelessness, but you know these people,” said Tretheway.

“It’s the good and bad,” said Scortino.

People are already suggesting ideas for future podcasts. “There’s no shortage. We have a long list of ideas,” said Tretheway. While they hope to broach a wide range of topics, their goal is to have every podcast “attached to the island” in some way, said Tretheway.

They also hope to coach their listeners on how to be good guest on Block Island, particularly after what was a chaotic and sometimes tense summer.

“Don’t come out here to vacation,” said Tretheway, “And leave on probation.”