Last July, we had a Podcast Spotlight for The Monday American … so why are we doing another? Well, it’s basically a whole new podcast at this point. Back then it was focused on blending politics and history in a fun and informative way. In the article I said,
Regardless of your political affiliations, there is a breadth of political podcasts out there that vary on the spectrum between far left liberal and the conservative right. The Monday American aims to be a true moderate in the field, using historical examples to help us put recent events into context.
However, now focusing more on the history end of the equation, The Monday American can go back to their roots of being history buffs.
Because of the pivot in their podcast focus, host Andrew Gehrt and I reconnected to discuss how the change went, what was the reason for the change, and why there aren’t more quality history podcasts out there. See below for our Q&A.
Discover Pods: You started The Monday American as a politics podcast, but have since focused more on history. What went into that pivot decision?
Andrew: I started off the podcast with the goal of analyzing politics through the lens of history. That was actually my goal all the way until I decided to do a series on WWII, my lifelong fascination historically speaking. I did a three-part series on WWII and after that series wrapped up I was flooded with feedback; some good, some bad, but almost every single bit suggested abandoning the political portion of the show and sticking with solely history based episodes. I don’t often find it wise to ignore advice given en masse and from that point forward history is the focus.
DP: In this torrid political environment, were you overwhelmed with the breadth of political podcasts out there?
Andrew: Torrid might even be an understatement, that said I didn’t base my decision to switch the theme around based off anything other than the listener’s suggesting that I should, along with my own love for history. I will say there are quite a large amount of political podcasts out there and it can absolutely be daunting trying to sift through them as a listener; I imagine trying to stand out amongst the crowd as a producer would be that much more difficult.
DP: What’s the biggest change you’ve experienced after podcasting for awhile?
Andrew: I think the biggest change for me after doing a podcast for about a year now is the way I have trained myself to not worry about the potential criticism or praise of the show or a specific episode. What I mean by that is that early on I was so nervous about the content I was creating being “good enough” to be out there, I was concerned what people might say or think about the show or me specifically that I was distracting myself and limiting the quality of the content because of it. Once I began to understand that the listeners are downloading the episodes each time because of the way I host the show, tell the story, shed light on a topic etc., I was able to stop worrying about what people thought and focus on creating more engaging episodes and in turn it led to a massive upswing in the fan-base. It’s very hard to get that self-esteem based worry from holding you down, that goes for all parts of life including podcasting.
DP: How are you picking the history topics to cover?
Andrew: I pick topics based on what I’m fascinated by and by fan suggestions. I feel that if I have a fascination or interest in a topic that will lead to an episode or series that passes that same intrigue on to others, if I don’t find something interesting I can’t imagine that anyone would find it interesting to listen to me talk about it as well.
DP: Besides Hardcore History, why don’t you think there are other more mainstream History podcasts?
Andrew: I think that the amount of research, real deep contextually driven research, is much more daunting and involved than many people think when they’re considering making a history podcast. I think its a combination of that along with the way history is taught in middle and high school today. Schools simply gloss over extremely deep, important and difficult topics much too quickly. I’ll never forget that in my AP American History class my senior year of high school, the entire cold war was given two days of general and boring coverage, if AP is glossing over something so important and complex then regular history courses are doing it even more so. It creates a general misunderstanding of what history is all about, and how fascinating it can be. I hope that people are able to come to a better understanding of how history can be exhilarating whether it be through my show or any other one they may find.
DP: What other podcasts are you listening to nowadays?
Andrew: Podcasts that I listen to (in no particular order) are the Joe Rogan Experience, Ben Shapiro Show, Hardcore History, Common Sense, Hardcore History: Addendum, Criminal, Crimetown, PodcastPlayl.ist, Juice in the Morning, Election College, Dirty John, and my most recent favorite: Bowhunter’s Life Podcast with Adam Greentree.