Civil War Talk Radio

May 8th, 2009 in American History by Gerald D. Swick

Years ago, I used to listen to a lot of talk radio – until I concluded 90 percent of it consists of agitators being paid to stir up angry calls from disgruntled listeners. But satellite channels have opened up new possibilities for those of us who prefer discussions to diatribes.

Today, I learned Dana Shoaf, the editor of Weider History Group’s Civil War Times magazine and America’s Civil War, had been interviewed on a talk show, so I went on the Net to listen. (Obligatory full disclosure here – if you haven’t noticed, GreatHistory.com is part of the Weider History Group, the company that is nice enough to send me a paycheck every couple of weeks for editing its Websites.) To my surprise, I discovered there is a program called Civil War Talk Radio on the World Talk Radio Variety Channel. No, it does not interview Ulysses S. Grant or Robert E. Lee.

The host, Gerald Prokopowicz, used to be director of the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana (now defunct, I’m sorry to say). I met him when I spent a week at the museum, researching Mary Lincoln’s family, and he’s a heckuva nice guy. His recent book, Did Lincoln Own Slaves, is very informative and often very humorous, but I never expected to find him hosting a talk show. For the record, he does a nice job, thank you very much.

In his segment with Dana, they talk about Civil War Times and America’s Civil War and of the challenges of presenting America’s greatest drama in a form that will be of interest to the Internet generation, academic attitudes toward popular magazines, and some changes that are coming to the publications. Oh, yeah, and Dana talks about letters from disgruntled readers, if you have to have disgruntledness as part of your talk radio. If you’re interested in the Civil War at all, check out Jerry’s show. I know I’ve bookmarked it.

About the Author: I regard historic research as a never-ending Easter egg hunt: You never know where you'll find a hidden treasure. Growing up with parents who told stories of family history probably had a lot to do with that. I realized early on that history is about lives already lived. I've met war veterans, early aviators, friends of Abraham Lincoln's in-laws, and a host of others who shared their histories with me – and it was never boring!

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2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Civil War Talk Radio”

  1. Mr. Swick,

    I too love listening to Dr. Prokopowicz’ weekly interviews. The showw has a new “unofficial” site at http://www.cwtr.org

    I have been doing summaries of each show for several years now over at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.

  2. Joseph Hinds said:

    Gerald, You must tell Dave Barry about this site. Tomorrow I will give it a shot and see how it plays. Your right though. Usually this type of radio is packed with the “Sons of Rush” types.

    Any idea why it has been such a secret for so long?

    Joe

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