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16 must-listen podcasts for creatives

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In the spring and fall I spend 70+ hours alone in a car driving back and forth between southern and northern california for our events. I’m used to alone time. I grew up as an only child and have been a creative entrepreneur who works from home for over a decade. When I’m driving, I’m not able to entertain myself the way I did as a child, by opening a stationary store (housed in a repurposed refrigerator box) on my front lawn or creating custom outfits from my mom’s fabric scraps for all my Barbie dolls. I also can’t do what I do as an adult to enjoy my by-myself-time, ie: working!

I burned through so many books on tape on those long car trips. Not that I don’t love books on tape but I needed something different. I discovered The Moth Podcast a few years ago and the storytellers have become my faithful driving companions, along with my dog Nina (fyi: she loves The Moth Podcast too. fyi #2: by love, I mean she doesn’t bark at it).

When I exhausted all the Moth archives, I sought out other podcasts to make the hours of flat landscape on the two lane highway breeze by. That’s when I discovered that there was a whole slew of podcasts on topics I loved. if, like me, you love a good story or get excited when someone talks about branding, pricing, staying true to yourself or other creative business topics you need to add these podcasts to your list of favorites. I use the iPhone podcasts app as well as Stitcher to listen while I’m driving. these podcasts featuring stories, interviews, insights and advice are so riveting that sometimes I have to sit in the car for a few minutes after I get to my destination and listen. Here are my 16 must-listen podcasts for creatives.

The Fresh Rag show with Dave Conrey

I met Dave when he was a vendor at our Patchwork Shows back in the day before he started his podcast. I’ve listened to the Fresh Rag Show since its inception. It’s chock full of honest business advice for creatives from Dave and his guests. It seems like just about every time I listen he’s touting about the life-changing radness of Marlo Forleo’s B-School. I haven’t taken the B-School plunge yet, but thanks to Fresh Rag, it’s now it’s on my radar. The mission of the Fresh Rag Show according to iTunes is to, “promote creative badassery in all artistic ventures.”

After the Jump with Grace Bonney

This is my newest podcast obsession. I listened to After the Jump for most of my nine hour drive yesterday from Sonoma to Orange County! If you don’t know Grace, she’s the founder of Design*Sponge and one of my creative entrepreneurial idols. Grace and her guests (like: Todd Oldham, Rena Tom and Julia Rothman) give nitty gritty business advice on branding, the real cost of business and how to make the most of social media. They also dive into the inspirational/emotional side of creativity and business with talks on work/life balance, productivity, finding your voice and living the life you want. After the Jump is a MUST listen, as heritage radio explains, it is, “a series of interviews with designers, store owners and up-and-coming members of the creative community, Grace will delve deeper into the world of independent artists. From exploring the day-to-day lives of contemporary makers to discussing the challenges they face.” Subscribe NOW!

Ted Radio Hour

I’d be shocked if you haven’t heard of Ted Talks and their Ted Radio Hour by now. Inspirational stories, advice and insight that make me happy to be a human being.

Adventures in Design

I first discovered AID via our Patchwork Show. Mark Brickey (one of the AID hosts) and his talented wife Beth Manos Brickey, gluten-free food blogger of Tastyyummies are east coast transplants now living in Long Beach. At first, I tuned in to learn more about the creative awesomeness behind Mark and Beth’s business, Hero Handmade. Once I started listening, I couldn’t stop! There’s never a dull moment while Mark, Billy Baumann and their buddies talk shop and delve into what it’s truly like to be an artist and creative entrepreneur. Whether they’re en route to a design conference, interviewing other creatives or discussing a controversial topic – their authentic banter is always entertaining and insightful. According to itunes, AID is, “Graphic design gossip and artistic growing pains through the eyes of two handsome DIY poster designers and their friends.” Listen now and like me, you’ll wish you were sitting in a dark dive bar downing beers with these rad guys. Bonus points: They referred to Delilah and me as “some of the hardest working ladies they know and the dogs you want to bet on in the race.” I’m going from memory here, so that’s not a direct quote, but I’ve never been so happy to be called a dog in my whole life.

The Moth Podcast

This is the very podcast that introduced me to podcasts. The moth podcast features live recordings of stories from all walks of life, told without notes to standing room only audiences in bars, theaters, community centers and pretty much any place there’s space for people to gather to story-tell and listen. I talk about how my Moth obsession started in a post here. FYI: my all-time favorite is Where There’s Smoke by Jennifer Hixson.

Strangers

Strangers is a storytelling podcast produced by Lea Thau who is a former Moth Podcast producer. KCRW says, “Each episode is an empathy shot in your arm, featuring true stories about about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren’t even who we thought we were.” My favorite episodes are Gay Talese: Committed Voyeur and Born Rich (or Poor): Moby, Jamie Johnson and Others.

The American Life

Luckily, I’m not the only one who has a hard time describing what This American Life is about. On their website, they actually talk about the difficulty they had in trying to pinpoint exactly what the show is about. I think they say it best, “We do these stories that are like movies for radio. There are people in dramatic situations. Things happen to them. There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun.”

Radiolab

My friend Claudia introduced me to Radiolab when she accompanied me on one of my LA to SF trips. “It’s kinda the sciencey version of This America Life,” she said. Having barely squeaked my way through high school biology classes, I was immediately turned off. Once we started listening, I got turned on by not only the content but the way the hosts bring the science of human experience to a spot where I not only was interested but actually understood what they were talking about. Radiolab describes themselves must better than I can, “Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”

Craftypod

I’ve been listening to Craftypod for a long time. I loved it so much that I emailed Diane Gilleland, the host and producer and basically begged her to come present at Craftcation. I was so honored when she agreed to join us at Craftcation 2014. With her bright red hair and years of experience as a crafty business lady, she brought a lovely energy and passion to her Craftcation workshops. Diane and her podcast are amazing. Here’s how Diane describes Craftypod, “CraftyPod 2.0 is a bi-weekly podcast for creative people. Since 2005, it’s been serving up 30-minute doses of learning, inspiration and great big ideas.”

Forum on KQED

I was lucky enough to have Forum host, Michael Krasny as one of my professors when I was in the english program at SFSU. I quickly became obsessed with his passion for not only for the literature we were discussing in class but the state of the world (locally and globally) as well as the human experience. Forum covers a wide range of topics, a few titles are: The Joy of Beach Blanket Babylon Celebrating Being the World’s Longest Running Musical Revue, Obama’s Foreign Policy Shift, Oakland’s Oral History Project Connecting Kids to Immigrant Roots, What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self? and a Trip to 1930s Paris With Author Francine Prose. I hope you love Michael’s spell-bounding intelligence on a variety of subjects as much as I do.

Perhaps you want more? Good! I do too. Below is my list of podcasts I have yet to listen to but am super excited to explore on my next trip down to Southern California as I hunker down in my station wagon with an animal style In and Out burger.

-The Good Life Project
-Elise Gets Crafty
-Destination DIY
-99% Invisible
-Crafting your Biz
-The Accidental Creative

Have you listened to any of these on my list? What are your favorite podcasts?

-nicole s.

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Comments

  1. Tami says

    Great! More podcasts to add to my list. I’m a podcastaholic, but mostly listen to gaming podcasts right now. Trying to branch out some. I need more driving time!

  2. Marlene Quiram says

    I enjoy listening to podcasts and appreciate you sharing more podcasts I can look into. Thanks

  3. says

    My husband is a media creative and he LOVES radiolab and regularly replays episodes for me. We like Ted and This American Life too. The only podcast I kind of regularly listen to is Penn’s Sunday School, but that’s because I love magic and smart funny opinionated rants.

    • says

      hey abbey!
      i love that your husband vets the radiolab episodes for you and shares his favs with you! i’m not into magic – per say – but i do love rants – maybe i should check out sunday school… -n

  4. Veronica bishop says

    Thanks for sharing, Nicole! I’m a huge fan of radiolab, the moth, this American life, and 99% invisible…and I recently started listening to the accidental creative and Ted radio hour. I’m psyched to check out more podcasts recommended by someone with such similar taste, as I’m voraciously making my way through my existing list as fast as I can download them.

    I highly recommend ‘selected shorts’ by PRI, recordings of actors reading short stories live on stage. And if you’re a foodie, ‘the splendid table’ is not to be missed. Cheers!

  5. says

    Wow, thanks Nicole. I am honored to be a part of this illustrious list. I appreciate the mention, and I’m glad the show still resonates with other creatives.

  6. says

    Good list, some I know and some new to try. I listen to a lot while I’m sewing for my business. I have been liking The Lively Show with Jess Lively. It’s pretty new. It’s kind of blogger designer slant on living with intention. Another one to check out is Lady Business. Not as DIY/crafty, but good women powered entrepreneurial stuff. And when I just need to feel like I am hanging out with friends I listen to Joy the Baker or The Because Show.

    • says

      i have to listen to the lively show! one i forgot to put on this list but is on my list. thanks for the reminder :) + i need to add lady business and i already read joy’s blog – i need to give her podcast a whirl :) -n

  7. says

    Some of these podcasts are my favorites. What would we do without them to keep us company during those long solitary Making hours? Thanks for introducing new ones to my list. I am so excited to give them all a listen.
    **Always appreciative of the effort you put into making pertinent and content-rich blogposts.

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