The word “history” often recalls images of documents, museums and artifacts from times long past. But students and instructors in UCF’s history department will tell you that history is housed in the memories and expertise of the people walking among us. Just look at the last five letters of the word — it’s a story that’s never finished being told.
While studying history at UCF, Holly Baker ’14’18MA created Knights HistoryCast to share these stories. Baker soon found podcasting to be the perfect medium to channel her passion for storytelling. For nearly half a decade, she interviewed historians on topics ranging from medieval times to modern Florida history.
“Podcasting is like bringing a book to life,” Baker says on episode 19 of Knights HistoryCast. “Because it’s one voice telling you a story. And when you’ve got headphones on listening to a podcast, you’re transported to another world. That’s why I think podcasting is a big deal for storytellers and for historians.”
After Baker graduated from the public history master’s program, she pursued her interests in history and storytelling hosting podcasts and radio programs with the Florida Historical Society (FHS). She took up running the podcast for the Florida Historical Quarterly, the scholarly publication of FHS, where she interviewed authors of recent issues of the journal on topics like historical research and the future of the history profession. She also works as an assistant producer for Florida Frontiers, where she can be heard discussing Florida history on National Public Radio stations across the state.
However, without a regular host, Knights HistoryCast saw a two-year hiatus — until Baker met Sebastian Garcia, a current history undergraduate who interned at FHS under her supervision. It was then that Baker told Garcia she was looking for someone to take over the Florida Historical Quarterly podcast and Knights HistoryCast.
“That was the green light for me to offer to take up the job,” Garcia said. “I love history, and I value podcasts as a medium. So why not combine both? It’s just another way of expressing my passion for history with as many people as I can.”
Garcia relaunched Knights HistoryCast as its new producer and has taken up production for the Florida Historical Quarterly Podcast. In his first Knights HistoryCast episode as host, he interviews Baker about the origins of Knights HistoryCast and outlines his plans for the podcast’s future.
As for his own future, Garcia plans to pursue a doctoral degree in history and continue inspiring a love of history in students as a professor. In the meantime, he has no plans to quit podcasting.
“Ultimately, what I’m trying to do with podcasting is to get more people to appreciate history, appreciate where we are and how we got here. We stand on the shoulders of everyone who came before us, whether it’s their achievements or their failures,” Garcia says. “History is complicated, it’s messy, it’s nonlinear. But we are where we are today because of the past.”
The past brought us to today’s world of immersive digital storytelling. Through these technologies, the way we engage with history is being reimagined.
Connie Lester, associate professor of history, says she has witnessed this evolution throughout her time as editor of the Florida Historical Quarterly.
“The Florida Historical Quarterly is in its 101st volume, and the world of editing and publishing has changed more during my 18 years as editor than at any time in modern history,” Lester says. “Journals now engage with their audiences on multiple levels thanks to social media, podcasting, and digital publishing.”