Past, Present, and Podcasts
by Owain Williams
Since starting as Editor of Ancient History Magazine, I have been looking forward to starting an Ancient History Magazine podcast. Just as Ancient Warfare Magazine has one, a podcast seems like such a natural addition to the Ancient History corpus. I am very much looking forward to the day that I can sit down and have a thorough discussion about a given topic from ancient history, as I am sure most, if not all, readers of Ancient History Magazine would be. Unfortunately, it is simply not as simple as that.
There are several things to consider when organising a podcast. Firstly, what kind of podcast do we want? There are many different styles of podcasts on the internet. Some have several, a constant reoccurring group of people discussing any number of things in from ancient history. Others have a core number of people who are joined each week by several guests, who can be anything from ancient history enthusiasts to academics and experts. Several have a single person reading from a script about a single topic.
There are both positives and negatives to each approach. A constant reoccurring group ensures that the podcast has a relaxed and informal atmosphere, but the topics might not be explored that comprehensively. Having expert guests on each time ensures that the topic discussed is thoroughly explored, but might mean that the focus of the podcast is narrower, with the discussion emphasising a single element. A tailored, script-read podcast ensures that the discussion never deviates from the intended topic, but lacks the familiarity of a conversation, and the rigid structure prevents the spontaneous exploration of topics a conversation might bring up.
Secondly, how often do we want to release the podcast? The Ancient Warfare podcast releases with the release of the magazine, with the topic of the podcast matching the theme of the latest issue. Of course, the more podcasts, the more topics that can be discussed, with different aspects of a magazine theme being explored, rather than the theme being discussed in its entirety in a single episode. Moreover, having a more frequent podcast would open the possibility of exploring further topics not connected to the theme.
Thirdly, connected to the second point, what should the podcast episodes discuss? Should the podcast topics correspond to the magazine’s themes? Should the podcast explore other non-theme topics, perhaps ones that are not suitable for inclusion in the magazine?
What do you think? Would you like there to be an Ancient History Magazine podcast? What should the podcast cover? Let us know!