Reviews Program

Robert Cassanello (he/him/his) Discussion

Greetings all, I want to follow up on the post Yelena started about where to go with H-Podcast next. So my intention here is to start a discussion about things we can be doing and something I am interested in seeing is a Podcast Reviews program.

Can I hear from people who think we could and should have a reviews program that reviews podcasts?
Yelena and I have talked about this in the past and we have been chewing on a few things concerning it, we have mostly questions and not answers but if any of you have an opinion please share.

These are the things I think we need to consider to launch a podcast review program:

a. Academic podcasts reviews-Obviously there are podcast which aim to introduce academic content to subscribers so I think reviewing this type of content would be easy it would like reviewing a film or TV program to some extent and these types of reviews exist as models.

b. Non-Academic podcasts reviews—this is tricky, we could review podcasts that are for niche or commercial audiences that more places what they are trying to do into a larger cultural context as a means of pointing people to connect to it as opposed to a critical critique as an academic review might. Say the difference between an academic journal review of a book and a New York Times Book review of the same book, something like that.

c. For podcasts that have a sundown date, meaning they are not ongoing year after year, it would be easy to review this as a final piece. But serial content we could review the podcast at a certain point, and return to it with a new review later on. With something like Serial this would be easy because each season is a different topic, but say something like the Slate Culture Gabfest if someone were to review that a different reviewer could return years later with a new review. 

d. Along the lines of the idea above, we could also review specific episodes as opposed to the entire podcast.

e. Many of us produce podcasts ourselves, so I would really like us to have a venue for review or at least reflection on this work we are doing, and I am not sure there is a reviews program for podcasts. I have approached some academic journals who have thus far passed on reviewing podcasts, so I think we can take this charge. 

Please share your thoughts on this. Is this a next step for us?


6 Replies

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I would appreciate podcast reviews to help me filter through the hundreds of history related podcasts. There are some really good podcasts, and some really terrible ones. I post a short list of those that I feel are the best on my course management system for my students. They seem to enjoy the podcasts as one more media option to receive some material that I have vetted for them. There is even an extra credit podcast review project. They select a podcast from a menu of options and answer several quests for the review.

As far as content, I would like to suggest that the reviews not be limited to only those created by academics. There are some very good and interesting podcasts by non-historians. Even Malcolm Gladwell has started a short, episodic history podcast series.

Greg Dehler
Front Range Community College
H-Environment Editor


Thank you for your thoughts! Your comment brought up a couple of ideas that I want to throw out to the group:

1) It occurs to me that all the entries in the Academic Podcast Roundup support comments. Subscribers to the H-Podcast network can always add their thoughts in response to the individual podcasts listed on the roundup by clicking on the podcast title and using the Reply box. As with most everything in H-Net, replies go through network moderation, so we're in no danger of flame wars.

2) We've already had some interest in users reviewing individual podcasts and episodes in a longer format. H-Podcast could start a group blog where these longer review pieces could be housed. I would be particularly interested in historians responding to non-academic history podcasts (for example there's some Slate Academy content that we could secure for a reviewer), or teachers reflecting on the usefulness of certain series in the classroom. Highlighting some of the exceptional history podcasts from among the many out there would be a great service! The H-PCAACA (popular & American culture) network has made excellent use of the Blogs feature in the Commons (here). We could do something similar. Anyone interested in something like that can write to the H-Podcast editors directly:

Other thoughts?


All the best,

Yelena Kalinsky
H-Podcast Editor


I think this is a great idea. I would love to hear others' opinions not just on content but also on style, technique, and production quality as well.


Katie Smyser
Co-founder and Producer
The History Buffs Podcast

Dear all,

I also think that this sounds like a great idea.

Aside from user reviews that might help listeners I think it would be wonderful to have a 'peer review' scheme in which those of us who make podcasts could review each others. This might work best if it's not public, I'm not sure. It would be really great to get detailed constructive feedback on interview style, pacing, production, listener interaction and so on. I'm thinking of something more friendly than is usual in academia (!) so as to collectively improve what we do.

This could be as simple as pairing up people through this list. For example I would be happy to pair up with someone else, listen to each others podcasts in depth and then we send feedback to one another. This can be public or private

Anyone up for it?



Dr. Ian M. Cook
Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology
Central European University

twitter: @ianmickcook
tel.: +36 306586410

Ian, Yelena and I have been having these very same discussion. It would be great to get peer review feedback both while a project is going on to improve that project and I would say after in the form of an academic review.

Maybe we can design a peer review process that is private for cases like you describe. Would anyone else be interesting in getting access to feedback in this way?


All, Yelena and I are talking about these issues of review, peer review, and a podcast academic reviews program. Please share your thoughts with us, because in the fall we would like to roll out some initiatives to get the ball rolling on some of these ideas we have been sharing. Please keep the comments and ideas coming.