Someone You Should Know: Sharing history digitally through her SD podcast

Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 5:15 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - This week’s Someone You Should Know shares her love for history with South Dakotans and beyond.

Passionate about history, Lori Kent created a podcast to share her love of discovering the past with thousands of listeners.

“I always liked American Girl dolls, which is definitely a generational thing, but that got me interested in little pieces of history,” Kent said. “As I got older, I lived next to a historical marker that I never visited. Once I moved away, the pandemic started happening, and I needed a hobby outside that I could do by myself, so I started going to historical markers — read them and then researched them.”

Lori came up with the “Local Lou Podcast” name from a nickname her family gave her, and her father created her theme song.

“I felt like podcasting for me was a way to put myself out there, without putting myself out there,” Kent said. “Oddly enough, you’d be surprised, I have several people in England who are not only listening but interacting on social media about it. They have questions.”

She can access everyone and anyone with her podcast, bringing history to life digitally.

“I think that Lori is really filling a gap that the museum and the historical society haven’t been able to do, digitally bringing this information to a much wider audience than it’s been brought to before,” said Adam Nyhaug, museum registrar for Siouxland Heritage.

She manages her podcast outside of her 9 to 5 job, filling her free time with researching and sharing historical stories.

“It’s been wild. I thought for sure once I started uploading that I would get 7 to 12 listeners because I have about that number in my family,” Kent said. “Once it started being dozens of people the day I uploaded it, I was confused. I was excited. ‘Let’s keep doing this.’”

She finds her information through a myriad of ways — some unexpected.

“I started another hobby of trying to find and thrift local history books from Last Stop CD Shop, estate sales and thrift stores,” Kent said. “Through that, I found a network of people who are interested in helping me.”

“She did a lot of work in cemeteries and brought a lot of information about the region to light,” said Brian Robinson of Woodcock & Co. “It’s a great primer for someone who knows nothing about South Dakota or the Sioux Falls area to bring you up to speed on what was going on here historically.”

She hopes to create new historical markers for people who have been left out in history and bring them to light.

“Sioux Falls has a ton of history that I don’t know, and to get out there and start to learn it. My goal is hopefully at some point to highlight more of herstory — more women who contributed to the Sioux Falls that we love today,” Kent said.

“The historical markers kind of tell the good, the bad, and the ugly,” said Rick Lingberg, president of the Minnehaha County Historical Society. “You need to know that, too. That’s okay — it’s part of our history.”

Often, she receives requests for specific places, people and events.

“I would like to be able to devote more of my time on the weekends to it, to get more episodes out just because I know people want them,” Kent said. “I have a pretty long list of things people have asked for.”

“A Sioux Falls history podcast doesn’t necessarily have to stay in Sioux Falls,” said Kent. “I don’t think that you have to live here to appreciate our history, and I think a lot of people who live here might not be aware of our history. We’re still writing our history now.”

The Local Lou podcast can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.