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History is now: Behind the numbers of the biggest UK history podcasts

History is now: Behind the numbers of the biggest UK history podcasts

Written by Emi GeddesPartner Manager, Acast Creator Network2022.02.15

History podcasts are currently enjoying something of a boom. Whether it’s because of a renewed interest in our past to avoid mistakes of the future, or widespread apathy towards current affairs, it would seem some of the biggest historical pods are seeing some of the biggest growth numbers in, well, history.

Take one of the UK podcast giants, Dan Snow’s History Hit,  which saw downloads grow nearly 20% in 2021. Dan’s popular podcast features reports and interviews with experts from all over the world, covering anniversaries and a mixture of famous and not-so-famous historical events – and has been ever-present around the top of the podcast charts since the show began in 2015. It now enjoys an average of more than 3.6 million downloads a month.

The BBC’s History Magazine podcast, History Extra has also seen extraordinary listener growth of 37% over the past year, but it’s not just broad historical podcasts enjoying a renaissance — specific genres within the category are also seeing a surge. Listens to Fin Dwyer’s Irish History Podcast increased throughout 2021, with his average monthly figure now sitting at more than 250,000.

February is LGBT+ history month in the UK, and award-winning podcast The Log Books has been incredibly important in showcasing the history and hidden stories of LGBT+ life through the eyes of Switchboard volunteers. After three hugely successful seasons, the show published its farewell episode last month as the hosts finally reached the end of the archive — having registered more than 200,000 downloads.

The Warfare podcast has seen downloads increase 72% in the past six months. James Rogers, the show’s presenter, offered some insight into why:

Throughout history, moments have shaped and changed our world — and sadly conflict continues to rage today. Podcasts that cover these points in time – like our podcast – provide historical context to these current wars, like in Ukraine and Afghanistan, while also bringing listeners cutting-edge analysis from world leading historians, policymakers, and veterans.

James Rogers, presenter of the Warfare podcast

My colleague Jack wrote about history being included in notable trends last month, and it would seem those increases in downloads and listeners are continuing to be enjoyed by the podcasts themselves, alongside the brands and sponsors who partner with them.

Do you have an idea for a podcast you think would make history? Acast has launched Acast Amplifier, a podcast incubator programme that will see three podcast ideas turned into a reality. For more information please visit www.acastamplifier.com.

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