Dan Snow Historic Success Podcast
Over the last twenty years there has been an explosion of interest in history, not just in British history, but in all kinds of different kinds of history. The podcast genre is absolutely ideal to take advantage of this. I’ve already reviewed the Daily History Hack podcast in a previous column, so I thought I’d turn my attention to Dan Snow’s History Hit this week. This podcast is also more or less daily and covers a wide range of topics. It’s blatantly the antithesis of a Radio 4-style podcast and is almost too casual at times. Snow is a populist and wants each ‘ep’ of his ‘pod’, as he refers to them, to attract the widest possible audience. His tiger enthusiasm attracts you, even on a subject that you think doesn’t particularly interest you.
I’ve heard two very contrasting podcasts this week, one on Eurovision history, in which he interviewed Eurovision fan Scott Bryan on where the contest came from and what it means. And then, a few days later, I had the pleasure of listening to a 50-minute podcast titled ‘Hunting the Bismarck’, which detailed the events that led to the Royal Navy’s sinking of the German battleship Bismarck in 1941. It used footage from archival interviews. of those involved and witnessed it live, in addition to telling the story in their own words. Fascinating things and I learned a lot that I didn’t know before. Other topics covered this week were the military in Rome, paleontologist Mary Anning, an interview with senior diplomat Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Martin Luther and the conflict between Israel and Palestine. You don’t get much wider variety than that.
I wonder how many listeners listen to each episode and how many dive in from time to time when something catches their eye. I was on the podcast a couple of months ago, talking about prime ministers. When we were talking off-air, Dan told me that it’s the podcast that he enjoys more than anything else he does. It clearly works for you financially. Every episode is sponsored and he also does live sponsored readings. It made me wonder if the history podcast is about to usurp the television history documentary at some point.
A gay and non-gay podcast
This podcast shouldn’t work. It’s a 15-30 minute weekly chat between two friends, one of whom is gay (James Barr) and the other is not (Dan Hudson). They are both comedians. Its raison d’être is to challenge heterosexual preconceptions of the gay world and, to a lesser extent, the other way around. Does it all sound a bit, well, boring? No, it is the opposite. They usually laugh a lot on the road and it is very conversational. The last episode is about the Eurovision Song Contest, which, needless to say, James loves and Dan doesn’t. And there is no way to convince him that he has any appeal, even though Italy won with a rock song. They don’t get to the bumps, but everything gets pretty hot, they just stay on the right side in #awks. This has become a very popular podcast, although I wonder what proportion of its listeners are straight. Now they are doing live events and the podcast has created its own little cottage industry. I’m not surprised. The two hosts are incredibly personable and there’s always a little chill where the deviant inside your head wonders if Dan has ever been tempted to, well, you know. They may have talked about this in an episode that I missed. Another reason to delve into its later catalog. And that is not a double meaning. Well, it is, but not intentional. Believe it and you will believe anything.