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History Podcasts: The Ratline by BBC Radio 4

Updated: Oct 19, 2018


Past Futures discusses the benefits of your organisation hosting its own podcast by taking a look at the case study Intrigue: The Ratline.


The Ratline BBC Radio 4 history podcast
Presenter of The Ratline Philippe Sands enjoys a Q&A with Stephen Fry

In September we were fortunate to be invited to the launch of BBC Radio 4's new history podcast Intrigue: The Ratline. This follows an earlier series of the Intrigue commissioned by the network and retraces the escape and death of Senior Nazi member, Otto Von Wachter as he fled Nazi occupied Poland and resettled in The Vatican.


Since 2004, podcasts have grown in popularity as a form of media, with 16% of UK adults having listened to a podcast at some point. With platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud all streaming this type of MP3 media; users are able to download and listen to audio content from their phone, computer or tablet. Most listeners tune in during their daily commute, so it's best to keep your show under 45 minutes.


Podcasts are also highly adaptable, and have been used for sharing radio shows, debates and discussions, investigative journalism, as well as guided audio tours.


"What [audio] allows you to do like no other medium, not like television...is use the imagination. It allows you to get to a place you would not otherwise be" Philippe Sands.

Unlike TV, film and documentaries, podcasts allow the listener to use their imagination which is why podcasting is perfect for the heritage industry. More and more national museums are recognising the benefits of implementing podcasts into their interpretation offering, and for the price there are a lot more options for the type of story you want to retell. Perhaps your listeners would love a chat show setup, maybe they'd prefer a documentary style approach or how about introducing a question and answer segment.


"Radio and podcasts are back with a vengeance. I'm a big podcast listener, I've listened to podcasts the whole time...and it turns out millions of people are, because you've got a personal connection in a way that's different from being in front of a screen" Philippe Sands.

Get Inspired


While podcasts are a growing form of media, I believe it will be the use of immersive technologies such as 3D and binaural audio within podcasts, which will increase its popularity even more as a common form of digital interpretation, and gain the attention of cultural heritage visitors!


If you're interested in launching your own podcast show, check out our Enhanced service now.