The medium of podcasting seems to be a lot more prevalent with affluent and educated individuals, seeing that 26% of US listeners have a college degree or higher. This demographic has helped to make educational podcasts extremely popular, allowing listeners to learn more about the worlds of science and spirituality. In order to discuss this niche further, Netinfluencer will discuss the key aspects of the On Being podcast and highlight how it has attracted a bustling audience base.
The Creator Behind the Podcast
The On Being podcast began its life as a radio show back in 2003. During this time, the show could be found on two local radio stations and aimed to treat elusive concepts such as religion with the same respect and integrity as other defining topics such as politics and sports. The host, Krista Tippett, also worked to broaden the show’s horizons, expanding the conversation to surround what it means to be a human in the 21st century.
Though the show did not gain a tremendous amount of acclaim on the radio, it made an outstanding impact on the world of podcasting. After winning a selection of prestigious awards, including a Peabody, Tippett was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2014. This award signified her devotion to human existence and how she showcases just how mysterious life can be.
Themes and Topics Covered
This podcast does more than discuss a selection of spiritual practices and concepts. It also allows key figures and prolific artists to explore how these nuanced ideas play a substantial role in their everyday lives. During a discussion with physicist and mathematician Brian Greene, the episode opens up a plethora of possibilities regarding evolution and our understanding of space and time. Greene is responsible for writing an assortment of books on the topic such as The Elegant Universe and is even the co-founder of the World Science Festival. As such, he is able to condense vast topics into digestible chunks, helping Tippett and the audience better understand our role in the formation of the universe.
Tippett also uses her own experiences to give listeners a glimpse into her personal history. By recalling fond memories and readings from her journal, the host takes us on a journey of self-discovery, travel, and curiosity. In an episode named A Season of Emergence, Tippett tells us of the summer she spent in Berlin during the dividing times of the 1980s. Here, she expresses her concerns for this broken, yet bustling, city and how she learned to appreciate the soothing nature of a creative rest.
Since this podcast has been in production since the early 2000s, the host has managed to build a comprehensive archive of interviews, discussions, and personal anecdotes. As such, she often re-releases episodes so that her audience can review their thinking over time. This technique is also used to commend and celebrate the lives of past guests, helping to keep their legacy alive as time goes on. For example, Tippett invited poet Mary Oliver onto the show in 2015. When she sadly passed in 2019, the host reuploaded the episode so that her audience could appreciate her work and use her creativity to grieve their losses.
Reach of the On Being Podcast
Tippett conducted an interview with the New York Times back in March 2022 where she announced that the show would no longer be available on radio stations. Instead, she is now focusing on producing the show solely as a podcast. On podcasting platforms, the show now has a listenership of more than 500,000 weekly listeners.
She also expanded the On Being Project in 2011 and collated a series of intellectuals to help her create the Civil Conversations Project, a podcast that encourages Americans to have more intimate and expressive discussions about Race. This podcast is now considered to be a tremendous resource for social justice initiatives and is commended for its unwavering sense of honesty and passion.
The On Being Project also utilizes a wealth of social media platforms to expand its reach across the world. The podcast has amassed an impressive 252K followers on Instagram and makes use of a range of informative infographics to express key topics and concepts to its highly engaged audience base. The podcast follows a slightly different approach on TikTok to create satisfying and soothing content for its growing collection of followers.
The Format of the Podcast
Each episode of On Being lasts for around an hour but Tippett also enjoys releasing unedited versions that can last for much longer. These pieces allow audience members to gain an undiluted sense of the conversation and give them more information to absorb and ponder.
The show also relies on the input of acclaimed guests, all of which offer their own interpretation of the meaning of life. Luis Alberto Urrea is a Mexican-American writer, who spent the majority of his life observing the daily conflict between Mexicans and US border guards. The writer uses these experiences to dismantle the dehumanizing stereotypes that Mexicans face, producing an assortment of moving literature in the process. He first appeared on the podcast in 2018 and used his time to explore how his parent’s marriage and divorce gave him a better appreciation of human connection.
Toward the end of 2022, On Being released a collection of Foundations, which are short explanations of essential concepts that help to shape our time on earth. With four to discover, each episode lasts for around 15 minutes and discusses narratives such as how our job title affects our relationships as well as how we can better view the passage of time. These Foundations aim to give listeners an overview of On Being’s aims and history, signifying its legacy-defining impact across podcasting.
Reception and Impact
This show has even grown into a movement of its own, creating online care packages for individuals who wish to use the power of poetry and art to help them find hope in troubling times. The project also aims to make poetry more engaging and accessible to the modern population, drawing on the key ideas from creatives both past and present. Tippett has also amassed an assortment of contemporary poetry to give her audience a daily boost of motivation and give them something to guide them throughout their daily lives.
The On Being podcast is a pioneer within the medium and indicates its immense power over both radio and TV. Krista Tippett’s dedication to her work has also not gone unnoticed as she continues to unravel the wonders of our world with a range of avid fans behind her. The On Being podcast is available across a variety of popular streaming platforms including Spotify and Google Podcasts.