The Student News Site of Ithaca College

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Podcast shines spotlight on Long Island history


  • The Long Island History Project is a podcast produced by Chris Kretz that airs twice a month.

  • The show features a variety of guests including researchers, authors, archivists and those with a passion for preserving local history.

  • Kretz discusses the difficulties of being an independent storyteller and the importance of telling stories that are not seen in the mainstream media.

The Long Island History Project, a podcast founded by Chris Kretz and Connie Currie in 2014,  tells long-form stories that attract attention to the history of Long Island. When the project began, Kretz was a librarian at Dowling College in Oakdale.

The project was initially a collaboration between his library and the Long Island Radio & Television Historical Society (LIRTVHS), a local group dedicated to radio history on the island.

“We wanted to talk about local history, which was not being done consistently in a podcast anywhere,” Kretz said.

Currie was the president of the organization at that time and co-founded the podcast, but Kretz has recently taken over that role during the COVID-19 pandemic. He now runs the podcast independently.

Chris Kretz during our social-distanced interview at the Sayville Public Library, which is where he typically meets with his guests to record his interviews. (Antonio Ferme/Ithaca Week)

Kretz said that they drew up a list of potential interviewees and recorded seven episodes that summer. He has recorded new episodes twice a month ever since at the Sayville Public Library.

From fort invasions to newspaper archives to baseball history, Kretz tries to choose a variety of authentic voices that will tell compelling stories on his show.

“I tend to look for historians, archivists, or people in the field that are doing interesting things,” Kretz said. “Some of it is personal contacts, and then we’ll check who has a book coming out or what library is doing a project on something.”

Kretz said one interesting institution that he chose for a podcast episode was the Islip Town Firefighters Museum. He said he found it fascinating how each firehouse collects their own history.

“Through sheer effort and long perseverance, they were able to raise the funds, get a building and open their doors to the public,” Kretz said. “That was pretty outstanding to hear about.”

Chris Kretz is the president of the Long Island Radio & Television Historical Society. This is his table set up at the Sayville Public Library. (Antonio Ferme/Ithaca Week)

From a lack of manpower, awareness and funding, Kretz said he faces a series of issues as an independent podcaster. Ultimately, he explained that preserving local history is important in order to preserve knowledge, make decisions in the present and know what has been done in the past.

Kretz said that these types of stories are not commonly featured in the mainstream media. When they do make it into the spotlight, he said they are not usually as accurate or complete as there are voices out there that do not get heard until people start looking for them. “I’m a very curious person that likes research and finding these maybe forgotten stories,” Kretz said.

Kretz, who has been podcasting since 2005,  encourages others to give it a try as it’s an inexpensive way to produce content that otherwise would not be published.

“It’s a great platform to tell stories that may not be in the mass media,” Kretz said. “So if you have a story idea, start recording something and put it out there.”

For those interested to see more, follow the Long Island History Project on Twitter and Instagram (Antonio Ferme/Ithaca Week)


Leave a Comment
Donate to Ithaca Week

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ithaca College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Ithaca Week

Comments (0)

All Ithaca Week Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *