Krista Tippett - The Incomparable, Insightful Host of On Being

US President Barack Obama presents the National Humanities Medal to radio host Krista Tippett, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama presents the National Humanities Medal to radio host Krista Tippett, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author. This is a rare interview where Krista was the guest, and I was the host. Many of Krista' fans (myself included) wanted an opportunity to hear directly from Krista. How did she pursue the path of creating On Being? What are her hopes and dreams for the show (a Top 50 iTunes podcast)? Where did Krista come from and what inspired her to do what she does today?

In 2014, Krista received the National Humanities Medal at the White House from President Obama for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence, on the air and in print."

I first discovered Krista Tippett on National Public Radio and was immediately drawn to the sound of her voice and the structure she brings to a topic. She discussed and probed existential questions. She was spiritually bold.

If you can’t see the media player controls above, here are other ways to listen:

If you prefer reading, a full transcript of our conversation can be found here.

I was a 20-year old international college student at the time, who had only been in the U.S. for a couple of years. I was terrified to talk about politics, spirituality and religion in any kind of social situation. All I remembered were stereotypes and heated debates that left everyone in the room angry and frustrated.


So I avoided those topics for years, until Krista and her show "Speaking of Faith" came into my life. I was empowered to talk about spirituality again. More importantly, I learned how to connect with people from all walks of life, any faith or no faith, and I was able to teach and influence others to do the same.

In recent years, I felt hungry for an in-depth interview about Krista, but Google search results are primarily dominated by the On Being podcast, where she interviews other people.

The 30 minutes I spent with her recording this episode, one-on-one, were such a thrill.

Krista reveals the different stages of her radio show On Being, from infancy to the enterprise it has become today. Success didn't come easy. She had to struggle and fight for years.

Krista also opened up about her origin story. As a young girl, she was not a bookworm. At school, she signed up for a debate club, which changed her life forever.

As a fellow podcaster and radio show host, I dug deep and found out so much more about her creative process, how she prepares for the interviews, and the talented crew (from producers to artists, columnist, the technical staff) behind the On Being social enterprise.

Thank you Kristia Tippett, for teaching me and so many other people out there what it means to be human, for showing us how we could trust our inner voice and be our own guru.

Learn more about Krista Tippett on the On Being website. Listen to her radio program, also available via iTunes, SoundCloud and podcast apps on mobile.

I also recommend Krista's books  - Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters--and How to Talk About It. She has new book called Become Wise coming out in April 2016. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@Beingtweets) to find out more about her book tour. Drop us a comment directly below to share your reflections and stay in touch!

Show Notes:

  • What is your origin story?
  • Did you expect On Being to be the success it is today?
  • What were some of the struggles you had to face early on?
  • How Krista's book and radio show "Speaking of Faith" influenced me in social situations
  • What is your mission for the On Being enterprise? What types of guests do you seek out?
  • What was it like to interview Grace Lee Boggs (who was in her mid 90s during the interview)?
  • What is the effect of radio and the intimacy of human voice?
  • What is your creative process? How do you prepare for interviews?
  • A superpower: the ability to talk to anyone
  • What is the advantage to only have the human voice to work with?

Fei's current favorites of the On Being Podcast:

Special Announcement: 

At the same of this episode's release, Feisworld Podcast welcomes its First Birthday coming up on Oct 25th, 2015! Looking back in this past year, I would have never imagined meeting and speaking with all the wonderful people. I want to take this opportunity and thank all my guests, my listeners, please reach out to me via comments or email. I'd like to connect with you, or perhaps you could be connected to one another.

Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave your comment below and share the podcast with your family and friends. You can also email me here. Your support will keep me on track and bring many other sung and unsung heroes to this podcast.

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*All photos used on this page were taken from the On Being Marketing Materials.