Digital Podcasting History: A Roundtable Discussion

AHA Session 161
Saturday, January 9, 2016: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Regency Ballroom V (Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Lower Level 1)
Maria Montoya, New York University
Brian Balogh, University of Virginia and Backstory with the American History Guys
Betsy A. Beasley, Yale University and Who Makes Cents? A History of Capitalism
Rachel M. Guberman, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and The Urban Historians
Andrew Needham, New York University and The Urban Historians
David Stein, City University of New York, Graduate Center and Who Makes Cents? A History of Capitalism
LaDale C. Winling, Virginia Tech and The Urban Historians

Session Abstract

In October 2014, Kevin Roose of New York Magazine declared that “we’re in a golden age of podcasting.” The explosive success of Serial provided just one example of how the dropping costs and increasing ease of production, the hard-wiring of podcast apps into mobile devices, the comfort of Americans with on demand news and entertainment, and the growing polish of podcasters themselves had combined to produce a moment when, Roose suggested, “there are too many great podcasts to keep up with.”

A glance across the historical profession reinforces Roose’s characterization. I-Tunes genre listings for history podcasts contains 240 podcasts, with focuses ranging from contemporary military history, to the history of ancient Rome, to the history of the art of manliness. In this panel discussion, historians involved in three different podcasts will discuss both the ideas and technology behind their programs. The roundtable will explore why participants started their podcasts and decided to organize them topically, what they enjoy about the form and what they would like to see change, and how they see their podcasts speaking both to other historians and the general public, as well as the nitty gritty of podcasting, including what hardware and software is best, how to acquire and expand audiences, and how to maintain good sound quality.

The roundtable will feature Betsy Beasley and David Stein from Who Makes Cents? A History of Capitalism Podcast, Brian Balough from Backstory with the American History Guys, and Andrew Needham, Lily Geismer, Dale Winling and Rachel Guberman from The Urban Historians Podcast.

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