• Gina Rullo

Popular podcasts spotlight history, social issues


Podcasts, like those from The Center for Civic Education and The White House Historical Association, are becoming increasingly popular. (Courtesy Photo)

Podcasts have grown in popularity in recent years. Here are a few to explore:


The Center for Civic Education


The Center for Civic Education is celebrating Black History Month with a special 60-Second Civics podcast series tied to lesson plans, webinars and other important materials. Each day in February, 60-Second Civics will feature a podcast episode dedicated to the African American experience, with a special focus on the expansion of civil rights since the nation’s founding era and the confrontation of modern challenges to full equality.


“Now more than ever, our work to promote equality and justice for all has taken on new importance as our nation faces the twin challenges of violent extremism and a COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected African American communities,” said Christopher R. Riano, the Center’s president. “Our 60-Second Civics podcast and other materials will help explain how we got to where we are today and bridge the gap between America’s ideals of equality and their realization.”


“The Power of Nonviolence” is the theme of six free lesson plans devoted to Black History Month. More free lesson plans and self-paced online courses on the foundations of American representative democracy can be found in the Teacher Resources section of the Center’s website.


Power to the People is a seven-part on-demand webinar series that explains key concepts of American self-government. The series features two webinars of special importance to Black History Month: “The Power of Symbols: Monuments and Flags” with Brandon Hasbrouck, assistant professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law and “The Power of the Criminal Justice System” with Hernandez Stroud, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice.


The Center for Civic Education is the nation’s largest civic and constitutional education organization, dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy. The Center has reached more than 30 million students and their teachers since 1965. Learn more about the Center for Civic Education at civiced.org.


The White House Historical Association


Podcasts, like those from The Center for Civic Education and The White House Historical Association, are becoming increasingly popular. (Courtesy Photo)

In this first podcast episode of 2021, The White House Historical Association President Stewart D. McLaurin highlights moments from the Association’s popular virtual program History Happy Hour, and shares conversations with historians, first family members, and other presidential staff about the lives of presidents and first ladies throughout American history.


“This year is the 60th anniversary of the White House Historical Association, and I hope you’ll follow us throughout the year on this program and other programs of the Association,” said McLaurin. “Part of our mission at the White House Historical Association is to tell the stories of the people who lived and worked in the White House.”


This episode includes guests:


• Annette Gordon Reed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family


• Ron White, New York Times best-selling author and historian


• Candice Millard, New York Times best-selling author of Destiny of the Republic: The Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President


• Michael Patrick Cullinane, Professor of U.S. history at the University of Roehampton, London and the author of Theodore Roosevelt’s Ghost: The History and Memory of an American Icon

• Betty Boyd Caroli, historian and biographer of First Ladies


• Susan Eisenhower, President Eisenhower’s granddaughter, author of How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions

• Fred Logevall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian


• Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford


• Peggy Grande, former Executive Assistant for President Ronald Reagan


About History Happy Hour


A virtual program that was started in the Spring of 2020 as a way to stay connected with friends and supporters of the White House Historical Association. On Thursday evenings, the Association presents live conversations on a range of White House topics with experts and eyewitnesses to history from across the country and across the world.


Learn more at whitehousehistory.org/historyhappyhour.


“From the Woodshed” Podcast


For five successful seasons as the most-watched show on the DIY Network, the Maine Cabin Masters have entertained legions of loyal fans with their unique building style and family-focused humor; season six, filming now and premiered, February 1, 2021, promises more of the same. Continued growth in popularity nationwide and around the world led to the creation and launch of a podcast and a headquarters/retail store, the Kennebec Cabin Company in Manchester, Maine.


Doors to the brand-new Kennebec Cabin Company (KCC) retail store opened on February 1, 2020, just before the shutdown. Following a quick pivot to include online sales, KCC was off and running. Tens of thousands of fans have walked through the door and/or purchased items online over the last year, and the numbers continue to grow as people crave authenticity and genuine feel-good entertainment. Favorite items include anything with the Maine Cabin Masters logo and goods made by local artists.


Cabin Masters brothers-in-law Chase Morrill and Ryan Eldridge wanted to create a forum for casual conversations with fans, and the “From the Woodshed” podcast was born. The hosts talk all things cabins, camps, building and Maine, with episode segments including a guest interview, weekly trivia question and project pointers.


Now in its second season, guests have included local neighbors working to better their communities right alongside national names like author Tim Cotton (Bangor Police Department), Mary Engelbreit, Chris Ermides from Ask This Old House, and legendary sportscaster Dan Patrick.


The podcast drops Mondays on Spotify and Apple Podcasts; the video version premieres with live commentary at 7 p.m. Eastern Mondays on KCC YouTube. “From the Woodshed” is produced by Hero Media Arts and features Chase’s daughter Maggie as producer/host wrangler. “From the Woodshed” is brought to you by the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA) and Hero Media Arts.