UT faculty members host top podcast on iTunes U


Andrea Kurth

Originally created for Texas educators, “15 Minute History” podcast grew to be an internet sensation. Joan Neuberger, UT history professor and “15 Minute History” co-host, interviews history experts during her weekly podcast.

Alex Wilts

“15 Minute History” began as a project to provide history content to high school teachers and evolved into the top podcast collection on iTunes U with close to 200,000 subscribers, according to UT faculty.

Christopher Rose, podcast creator and outreach director for the Center of Middle Eastern Studies, said the success of “15 Minute History” even gained the attention of Apple.

“Apple initially asked if they could use the podcast in their presentations to iTunes U clients,” Rose said. “They’ve also decided to promote the podcast to consumers within the iTunes U store with a banner advertisement. I’m hoping it’s because we’ve been at the top of the charts several times now.”

History professor Joan Neuberger, who co-hosts the podcast, said she and Rose started the project in 2012 to enhance Texas high school education.

“We wanted to provide teachers with the most up-to-date information on world and U.S. history,” Neuberger said.

While the podcast is targeted toward preparing high school students for Texas standardized tests, Neuberger said the scope of the audience might go beyond educators and students.

“The podcasts have proven to be very popular with our first target audience — teachers and students — but we have drawn in people of all ages and professions and stages in life,” Neuberger said.

Neuberger said the podcast is a success because it gives people access to topics they often do not get the opportunity to learn about.

“For financial or other reasons, people often feel they have to study something outside the humanities or work in a field unrelated to the humanities,” Neuberger said. “Because they are interested in the history of the U.S. and the world, they seek out good, reliable, accessible history.”

Charley Binkow, history honors sophomore and the intern assistant for the podcast, said the setup of “15 Minutes of History” might also contribute to its large audience.

“The fact that it’s conducted in an interview-style gives it a personal flair,” Binkow said.

Binkow, who became involved in the project during the fall 2013 semester, said his role includes editing as well as writing blog posts and transcripts for the website.

“It’s sort of like my labor of love,” Binkow said. “Whenever I work, I am able to learn and study history, which is my favorite thing.”