When Dr. Scott Cooper sits to record his podcast, he’s surrounded by an eclectic collection of odds and ends in his office-turned-recording studio. Such items include: a 1980s bathroom condom machine he restored, skeletons (though he assured us they’re not human), smoking memorabilia (including packs of cigarettes from the 1940s), and – one of the strangest things yet – a saw he almost cut his leg off with.
“It still has blood on it,” he says. “I engraved it with the date and the time, and I hung it on the wall.”
Not every item in his office has such a morbid history to it, but that doesn’t mean they have no history altogether. Quite the contrary. Every item has an era attached to it, a memory or a meaning that brings his collection to a new light. You definitely don’t have to be a history buff like Scott to appreciate the antiquity on his shelves. But if there’s one thing that’ll get you on track to being one, it’s his podcast.
Cooper records multiple episodes of his podcast History of Every Day at a time. He has to, really – when he’s not working on his podcast, quite a bit of his time is devoted to teaching people about history.
“I actually work with several different schools. I’m an adjunct professor for three different universities, and during the day I’m a full-time high school history teacher. I’m a busy guy! I don’t sleep much, and I get a lot done. Let’s put it that way. And the nice thing about being able to record and not sleep is I can record an entire month’s worth of daily podcasts in one evening and then schedule them out.”
His podcast started small, in the same desire that sees him in all these teaching positions: to share his knowledge and love of history with the people around him.
“I’ve always wanted to do a podcast. It just seemed second-nature to me, to get in and say, ‘You know what? I talk about history every day, I teach history every day, and to be able to talk about what happened on this day in history?’ Because people always asked me before, “Hey, what’s the special date today? Is it National Frankfurter Day?” And I was able to come up with that off the top of my head, so it just kinda fit hand-in-hand to be able to do that in a podcast format.”
Not only is he sharing his podcast around town, it’s been implemented by other schools and other teachers as a learning aid. Classrooms coast-to-coast use his daily podcast as a way to introduce the day’s topic and kickstart their students’ ability to get into the subject.
“I get emails from time to time from schools around the country that listen to my podcast as a bellringer, so they start the day off with that in history class. They say, ‘Let’s talk about what happened on this day in history,’ and since it’s so short, it really gives the students an overview. There’s a lot of schools out there that will use this as a two-minute ‘Let’s warm up, this is what I’m gonna play’, just to get you in the mode of ‘let’s talk about history now”.”
The irony of it all?
“I hated history in high school! Hated it, as most people did. Just, truly disliked history. I cannot stand the old-school history teachers (there’s still some out there!) that will talk for two hours, and then have you regurgitate exactly what they talked about. I was actually in the corporate world for a while before I got into education. And just kinda fell in love with history when I started to realize that I have the gift for gab and I have a story-telling ability. So when I talk about history . . . I tell all my classes this: history is not something you memorize, it’s a story.”
With a big, wide-spread podcast like History of Every Day, there’s got to be some options for monetization – right?
“I have received a few advertisements, some things from different organizations that recorded their own [ads] and threw them in there. It’s not much money, but it’s interesting to see what people want to advertise. Some of them were pretty local. One of them was very local – they only wanted to pay if it was in like, a one square mile area of where they were at . . . One of them was the university, which was kind of nice.”
The university being, of course, Indiana University, in his home town of Bloomington. Cooper describes it as an oasis in the corn-filled state of Indiana, a place to slide on some Birkenstocks and those 80’s knit ponchos and just enjoy the scenery. (This also happens to be a university famed for quite a few alumni, including the best-selling author Suzanne Collins, but that’s a whole different talk for another time.)
As of the time of the interview Cooper currently runs his intro through PodAds, using the dynamic ad-insertion service as a way to introduce his episodes. Not only does it give him more time to focus on teaching and recording, it also gives him an example of how he’d insert his ads to show future sponsors.
“What I do is I have an intro that I put in there that I use for my pre-podcast, a fifteen to twenty-second spot that I recorded. I will use that also when I do go out and get some advertisements for people to listen to, I always point them to my intro, which is just where I talk about what I do and all that. You gotta be creative.”
History of Every Day currently has 364 episodes (almost the full year!), with over a hundred-thousand downloads. It exists as a reminder that every day has a chunk of history attached to it, and that there’s always a little time to learn something new. So if you’re looking for some cool history to impress your family and friends, Dr. Cooper’s podcast is one of the best ways to go.
About The Author
By day, a marketing writer for Podbean. By night, surrounded by eclectic projects like stop-motion puppets, half-knit sweaters, and a violin that won’t learn to play itself. Certified Fresh(c) by both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in English.