Podcasting Luminary: The WW2 Podcast

world war II podcast feature

Starting a podcast is a pretty simple. Staying committed, inspired and consistent in publishing your podcast is a whole other matter.

In our Podcasting Luminary Series, we share the voices of podcasters that have been podcasting for 5 or more years and have them impart some of their best podcasting wisdom grounded in experience.

Today we feature Angus from The History Network and WW2 Podcast


How long have you been podcasting?

I think I put out the first show in May 2006, after a bumpy start. Since 2007 “the history network” has produced 20 shows a year!

My new show the WW2 Podcast I currently aim for 12 shows a year, but I may increase that as it looks like I already have a backlog of shows.

What is your podcast about?

The two shows are “The History Network” and “WW2 Podcast”.

The history network looks at aspects of military history from any time in history, these take the form of short essays.

The new “WW2 Podcast” looks at any aspect of the second world war and I talk to a different expert in each episode about a different topic.

Fun, Fame or Profit? Why are you doing the show?

When I first started listening to podcasts I was looking for a decent history podcast.

At that time podcasts were few and far between, and many were poor quality, so for fun I suggested to a friend we start one covering military history.

I would write them and he would read them.

We thought we would only do a handful, and I never expect how much work it would be! It’s websites, graphics, facebook.

The podcast part is the easy bit!

After ten years of doing “the history network” I decided to specialise further and start a second (well its actually a third) podcast looking at the second world war, the “WW2 Podcast”.

Again, I couldn’t find a podcast looking at the second world war that I really wanted to listen to. In this podcast, I invite people on the show to talk about their special area of knowledge.

What has changed the most in your recording setup since you started?

Amazingly after all this time very little has changed since the start.

For both the “WW2 Podcast” and “the the history network” we use Rode NT–1A Microphones and some sort of analogue to USB converter.

I’ve been editing in Adobe Audition recently and am very happy with it, especially the ability to clean up audio. The only downside is the expense to rent it each month.

What tools on libsyn have you found most helpful in building your brand/podcast?

Discovering Libsyn was a godsend!

Originally we hosted the mp3 files and organized it all through the website, which was built on Apple’s iWeb. There was a constant worry about going over the host’s bandwidth limits, and trying to get the RSS to work with iTunes was a nightmare.

To top it all we had not idea of how many listeners we had.

Since we moved the hosting to Libsyn we’ve never looked back, the form to release the podcast is all self explanatory and we’ve never had to worry about the RSS working.

So when it came to starting the “WW2 Podcast” Libsyn was a simple choice!

Have you found that social media has expanded your listener base/reach?

Social media is probably the biggest thing that has changed in the last ten years, it really helps with engagement of listeners and it saves a lot of time messing about with your website for quick posts.

Getting engagement is difficult but you have to stick with it and find your voice and they will come.

What is your workflow: include hardware, software, text editing, and services as necessary.

The “WW2 podcast” is an interview based show so I start my research ideally with books on my kindle, it’s easy making notes in the app that I can extract later.

From there I draw up my running order using Google Docs, I’ve used Google Docs since it was “Writely” and it’s awesome, great spell check and it doesn’t do any more than I need!

To record the show I have a Skype conversation and record it directly into Adobe Audition.

For this I route the Skype audio onto track 1 using Soundflower, and my microphone is directly recorded onto track 2.

The beauty of this is my audio is perfect, and it’s easy to go back and re-record a question or intro/outro and it sounds the same as the rest of my audio.

I found in the past if I’ve used Audio Hijack it records my audio from Skype so never matches if I need to do a “pick up”.

I then edit in Adobe Audition. I used to use ProTools, but for the money Audition is much better as I get the full suite of Adobe Products.

I use Photoshop all the time for creating graphics for the website, Adobe Premiere and After Effects also come in useful from time to time.

Do download numbers matter matter to you? or is audience engagement key?

Yes downloads do matter, they stroke your ego and help to keep you keen. Its a long race and any encouragement is helpful.

That said, audience engagement is great but you don’t get one without the other.

How has or has podcasting helped create opportunities for you?

I’ve recently left my job, sold up and move my family out of London. Hopefully I can grow the WW2 podcast to the point where it is providing some meaningful income.

So if it hadn’t been for the “history network” podcast which I helped start ten years ago, and the millions of downloads we’ve had, the thousands of twitter followers and facebook followers I wouldn’t have been encouraged to try a new podcast with the aim of actually making money!

What advise would you give a new podcaster so that they keep going!

People always say content is king and that’s fine but you need to be able to hear the content, audio quality is almost more important. If I can’t hear your content or sounds rubbish I won’t persist in listening to your show.

Good audio is now pretty simple to achieve, it just takes some trial and error with what you have to hand.

With that I would say enjoy the process, if you don’t actually enjoy making the podcasts and are just looking for massive downloads and recognition its probably not for you.

Unless you have money to pay other people it’s a cottage industry and you need to enjoy it.

How important is podcasting to the success of other revenue generating opportunities you currently have?

At the moment it’s not important to other revenue streams, but I do plan on changing this so the Podcast compliments of streams of revenue.

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