Sport Heritage Review

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Podcasts and Sport Heritage

In late 2014, following the overwhelming popular success of Serial, the wider world began to take notice of podcasts.  Although podcasts and podcasting are not new – they have been around for about a decade or more – it seems that there is a broad interest, or perhaps a renewed interest, in this medium.


Though there are thousands of sport-based podcasts, I am not currently aware of any that are specifically focused on sport heritage.  I have considered creating a sport heritage podcast – we have a wonderful studio here at Clemson – and plan to put this on my to-do list for the coming year.  However, in the meantime, here is a list of sport podcasts that I feel at least touch-on aspects of sport heritage, sport and culture, and sport history.

Sporting Witness (BBC World Service) – An offshoot of the World Service’s excellent Witness podcast, this series specifically looks at first person narratives from the sporting past.  A great resource, and one that I have used often in my teaching.

Sportshour (BBC World Service) – Another World Service podcast, though more sociological and current events/topical than Sporting Witness, Sportshour examines some of the issues, debates, and topics that shape how sport is played, consumed and remembered.

Edge of Sports (Sirus XM Channel 92) – Like Sportshour, Edge of Sports is more sociological and current events-related, though decidedly more polemical. The show’s host, Dave Zirin, takes a very critical theory approach when discussing the social, economic, and political inequities of sport.  He’s a sports fan, but also realizes that his fandom is frequently fraught with hypocrisy, moral ambiguity, and injustice. This podcast is also one of the few sport history/sociology podcasts from the US, with decidedly US topics and points of view.

World Cricket Show – I’m not certain this podcast is necessarily sport heritage-related, though the hosts have a good sense of cricket’s past, especially in England. However, it is just plain fun.  The hosts, Adam Bayfield and Tony Curr, have a great rapport while discussing (and sometimes not discussing) the latest cricket news and matches. Frequently funny, always entertaining, and may even appeal to non or casual cricket supporters.

Sport and the British (BBC Radio 4) – This program is available in archive form – I believe it originally aired in 2012 – though it remains a great tool for revealing the history and current issues in sport.  Even though this podcast is specifically about sport history and development from a British perspective, so many of the foundations of contemporary sport are British that, at times, it is difficult to separate the national from the international when it comes to topics like globalization, broadcasting, and political uses of sport.  Again, a great teaching tool that I have used many times.

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