January 18, 2017 | Advice

For Your Inspiration: Listen Up!

We admit it; we’re music junkies. If you’ve been to our office, you know that we usually have tunes going and don’t let a week go by without checking out the #ThrowbackThursday playlist on Spotify. But sometimes, when we’re needing to zone out for a bit or pass the time on our commutes/workouts/what have you, we like to shake up what we’re listening to. Namely, podcasts. From funny to serious and informative to silly, there are countless options out there. So whether you’re new to the podcast world or are looking for some different shows, we thought we’d share some of our favorites to add to your 2017 playlist.


Chase's Picks


Ask Gary Vee Show - You can’t help but feel motivated after listening to Gary V. If you like blunt business, entrepreneurship, marketing advice this is your spot. 



Social Media Examiner - My go-to for all things social. Michael Stelzner covers a lot of bases: everything from Facebook's newest algorithm to industry influencers and general do’s and don’ts. He does a great job of asking guests questions that help “outsiders” understand better. Not a lot of industry jargon goes unchecked.




CMYKC - We are huge supporters of this crew! A show dedicated to all the forms of creativity that make up KC. They are currently on break after a long first season. Fun, casual conversations digging into what makes the guests tick.




Tiny Desk Concerts - All right, a something outside of the industry. Love the idea that these amazing artists are playing in someone's office (cube). Raw, real and perfect.



Megan's Picks


Serial - This was the podcast that started it all for me and has fueled my obsession ever since. The first season took the world by storm in 2014 and featured the 1999 murder case of Hae Min Lee. Host Sarah Koenig interviews people closely related to the case including the suspect Adnan Syed, who maintains his innocence to this day. In the years since, tons of podcasts have tried to be like Serial and I'm not sure any will come close. If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet, there's still plenty of room.




TED Radio Hour - Love being inspired but don’t have time to sit down and watch TED talks? This podcast has the best of both worlds. Each TED Radio Hour episode takes on a topic and features numerous visionaries talking about the Technology, Entertainment and Design that goes into this crazy world of ours. Yeah, I didn’t know that’s what it stood for either.




This American Life - This is one of NPR’s most popular podcasts and for a good reason. Each weekly episode features a handful of stories that all relate to a certain theme. The storytelling is amazing, the production is solid and although the stories range from triumphant to depressing to unique, all of them will make you think.




Grill Nation - Jason Grill, a friend of REACTOR, interviews notable Kansas City newsmakers, thought leaders and entertainers. The show airs on TALK 980AM every Saturday from 4-5 pm and our very own Clifton is on the show once a month (check out the 12/31 episode!) to chat about the design industry, the latest tech/news stories and the awesome clients we partner with.



Jenny's Picks


Reply All - A show about the internet! Sounds pretty vague, but hosts PJ and Alex tackle questions, stories, and confusion that stem from the world wide web and/or technology. They’re both curious, smart, funny in a dad’s-best-friend kind of way, and their laughter is literally my favorite. I can go on forever about Reply All (I want to be their BFFL), but this is one that everyone here listens & loves, so PLEASE do yourself a favor and LISTEN. TO. THIS. SHOW.




Undone - This is a pretty new one, but the podcast describes itself best: “a show about how big stories we thought were over were actually the beginning of something else.” It's an interesting look at the other side and the ripple effects from major stories from the past.




Hidden Brain - This one makes science fun, digestible and relatable for everyone. It uses science and storytelling to help us understand human behavior from the choices we make to the unseen patterns that direct our relationships.




99% Invisible - If you ever wondered about who and how those US Postal stamps get designed, this show might be a good one for you. Focusing on the designs of the world that people often don’t notice, 99% Invisible explores the power that design has all around us!



Travis' Picks


Mystery Show - This is truly a podcast like no other. And like so many other brilliantly offbeat creations it may have been killed ahead of its time (looking at you Firefly). In an incredible six episodes, Starlee Kine weaves interesting, hilarious and delightfully odd stories by playing detective for the some of the most mundane of mysteries. They are those little questions you can’t just ask Google – from the case of the vanishing video store, to the secret of Jake Gyllenhaal’s true height. And it’s the nature of these mysteries, told through Starlee’s inner monologue musings between detective work, that really makes this show what it is. Unfortunately it wasn't renewed for a second season but you can still listen to it at Gimlet Media's website.




How I Built This - There have been a few podcasts paralleling the rise of tech startups and entrepreneurs. This is one of them, but it’s bit more too. Guy Raz, who also hosts the TED Radio Hour, sits down with founders and inventors like the guys behind Instagram, but he also sits down with people like Cathy Hughes, the founder of the largest African American owned broadcasting company, Radio One, and talks with her about starting out as a black woman in radio in the late 60’s. It’s this variety of focus, and how companies and founders often start in completely different places than where they end up, that make this podcast great.




Song Exploder - Honestly, this is a podcast I never would have believed was so mesmerizing. Every episode of Song Exploder intricately picks apart a song by asking the artist how he/she/they created it. And when I say intricate, I mean painstakingly, but that level of detail is exactly what makes this podcast so interesting. Hearing artists talk in such particulars and often with such excitement about the smallest bits of a song is an enjoyable deconstruction of the creative process. And every song you hear about on the podcast will sound completely different the next time you listen to it, because your ears have been opened to all the little touches. Song Exploder is hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway, but you really don’t hear him much. He edits each episode in such a way that the questions he asks are left out so you only hear the artist and their creation.


Happy listening!