A Fresh Take on the Historical Podcast | A Digital Project Proposal from Site Contributor Lauren Pfeil

Sam Burnett and I have an exciting project that we wanted to share with this blog’s readers—a new show hosted by the two of us, which will be coming this spring to your favorite podcast platform!

We’ve found that much of the existing historical media features the same cast of characters, the same Gilbert Stuart paintings, and the same events boiled down to AP history Quizlet questions. We know Washington crossed the Delaware—like, we know. There’s been a lot of great work done to make some of these stories seem fresher and younger. Hamilton, Drunk History, The American Girls Podcast, Crash Course — each of these has made huge strides in making history more entertaining. 

As students of history, we see and acknowledge the conventional historical canon, but in our show, we’re going to be firing our canon-balls (haha, get it?). Our podcast is kicking out the loafers in powdered wigs and bringing you pieces of history you’ve never heard before. Our hope is that learning about these people and phenomena will blow apart your constructed ideas of who and what matters in history. 

Rarely is the 18-30 set made the primary audience for history programming, and rarer still is it that young adult women are the target audience. As members of these groups, we’d like to work in that niche, and we intend to feature perspectives and histories of historically underrepresented people and groups, as well. Channeling our audience as inspiration, we want to make our podcast feel like telling your friends the story of what happened last night, filled with previously unknown details.

Of course, having been raised in the digital age (who doesn’t love explaining how Spotify works to your parents?), we’ll be focusing our promotional efforts accordingly. You’ll soon be able to check out our website and social pages, and we’re hoping to partner with some of our favorite local history efforts (@aupublichistory on Instagram, perhaps?) to reach our target audience. Should the show take off, of course, we’ll be sure to let you all know first about our merch store, Patreon, and Cameo pages. We’ll be using insights from our podcast’s social and webpages as well as statistics from the podcast hosting platforms to track our performance.

Our logistical plan is to storyboard our full eight-episode first season. We’ll then record our pre-pod to introduce ourselves and the podcast’s premise and format. Four of the eight episodes will be recorded and made available to the public.

In the meantime, we would love to hear everyone’s best name ideas for our show, so drop them in the comments below and you’ll get a special shoutout in our introductory episode! And of course, if you’re a subject-matter expert on anything—whether your hometown was the birthplace of somebody fascinating or you have personal insight on the groups that control the exportation of parmagiano reggiano from Italy, we want to hear from you! We’re putting together a list of our dream guest stars, so submit your pitches here or reach us via email at samandlauren677@gmail.com.

Lauren Pfeil is a graduate student at American University. A native of Des Moines, Iowa and a proud alumna of Butler University, she hopes to push the field of public history towards a more inclusive & accessible landscape.

Reach Lauren on Twitter: @lauren_pfeil
Reach Lauren via email: laurenspfeil@gmail.com

One Reply to “A Fresh Take on the Historical Podcast | A Digital Project Proposal from Site Contributor Lauren Pfeil”

  1. Hi Lauren,

    This sounds like a really interesting project. Also great idea to team up with Sam on working on it. Creating a podcast can be a ton of work and it makes a lot of sense to approach something like this as a team.

    I very much enjoyed the way you zeroed in on your target audience and I think your idea of making the podcast feel like telling friends a story from last night is also an intriguing concept.

    I think your approach to storyboarding a full run of an 8 episode season but then focusing on recording the first four episodes is a smart way to scope out the project into something you can complete in the term.

    Overall, this is a really well thought out concept for a project.

    Best, Trevor

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