On Being

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On Being
Other namesFirst Person (2001–2003)
Speaking of Faith (2003–2010)
Running time51 minutes
Country of originUnited States
SyndicatesPublic Radio Exchange
Executive producer(s)Krista Tippett
Recording studioMinneapolis, Minnesota
Original releaseSeptember 22, 2001 – present
No. of episodes283
Other themes"Seven League Boots" by Zoe Keating

On Being is a podcast and a former public radio program. Hosted by Krista Tippett, it examines what it calls the "animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?"[1]

Radio program and podcast[edit]


On Being is an hour-long radio show and podcast, hosted by Krista Tippett.

Tippett has interviewed guests ranging from poets to physicists, doctors to historians, artists to activists.[2] Her guests include the 14th Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou, Mohammed Fairouz, Desmond Tutu, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rosanne Cash, Wangari Maathai, Yo-Yo Ma, Paulo Coehlo, Brian Greene, John Polkinghorne, Jean Vanier, Joanna Macy, Sylvia Earle, and Elie Wiesel.[3]

In 2006, On Being became the first national public radio show to offer unedited interviews alongside the produced radio show in their podcast and on their website.[4]


Krista Tippett pitched a series of pilots on religion, meaning, and ethics to Bill Buzenberg,[5] then Vice President for News at Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media, in the late 1990s.[6][failed verification] The program became Speaking of Faith, a monthly series in 2001[7] and a weekly national program distributed by American Public Media (APM) in 2003.[8] In 2010, the show's name changed to On Being. In 2013, Tippett left APM to start the non-profit production company, Krista Tippett Public Productions, which she described as "a social enterprise with a radio show at its heart".[4][9]

As of July 2014, On Being aired on 334 public radio stations across the United States,[10] and the On Being podcast reached a global audience of 1.5 million listeners a month.[10] On Being was listed in the iTunes top ten podcasts of 2014.[11] In 2016, On Being changed distributors from APM to the Public Radio Exchange.[12]

In May 2022 it was announced that as of June 2022 the program would be changing from a weekly show to a "seasonal podcast," and the final weekly program aired in late June 2022.[13]


The Columbia Journalism Review said of On Being and Tippett, "To listen to her show is to hear how intelligent and thoughtful religious people can be when they are allowed to be subjective and not merely regurgitate dogma."[14] In 2008 the show produced a series of programs called "Repossessing Virtue", exploring the spiritual and moral aspects of the economic recession.[15][failed verification][who?] Other series have included "Revealing Ramadan" and "Living Islam" and "The Civil Conversations Project." In 2014, On Being produced two radio specials. "Science on Human Frontiers" included interviews with Brian Greene, Natalie Batalha, S. James Gates, Sylvia Earle, and Esther Sternberg. Most recently On Being produced a special series on "The American Consciousness," a collection of live interviews at the Chautauqua Institution with Michel Martin, Richard Rodriguez, Imani Perry, and Nathan Schneider. During part of the program's run, musician Lizzo rapped in the closing credits.[16]

Social enterprise[edit]

Krista Tippett Public Productions (KTPP) was founded in 2013 by Krista Tippett as a non-profit production company with a 4,000-square-foot studio and live event space on Loring Park in Minneapolis.[9] KTPP managed the production and funding of the program, which is distributed by APM.[4] In 2018, KTPP changed its name to The On Being Project.[17][18]

Other Podcasts from The On Being Project[edit]

On Being is the flagship podcast for The On Being Project, but the organization has also produced other podcasts. These include Becoming Wise, which is closely associated with Krista Tippett's 2016 book by the same name; Creating Our Own Lives, which ran from 2016 to 2017;[19] Poetry Unbound; This Movie Changed Me; and Living the Questions.[20]

The Civil Conversations Project[edit]

In 2012, On Being began a series of interviews and live events which became the Civil Conversations Project. The initial four-part series was a collaboration of the Brookings Institution, the Humphrey School, and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. The project grew out of a sentiment that Tippett heard from many Americans who felt that our "civic life is broken, that bipartisan consensus is inconceivable".[21] Tippett says that "conduct in public spaces may be as important as the positions we take"; and "How do we walk in disagreement while keeping as much of our society intact as we can?"[21]

The Civil Conversations Project has been described in southwestjournal.com as "an ever-evolving effort to help others host the kind of nuanced and empathetic discussions they hear on On Being",[9] and a "lab for returning civility to civic life",[9] with a website containing conversation starters, video of live events, and interviews.[4] Tippett describes the program as about "equipping people, wherever they may live, to create new conversational spaces".[22]

Harvard Law School has used resources from the Civil Conversations Project.[4] In 2014, the Civil Conversations Project led an international pilot program in places such as Northern Ireland and Jordan.[4]


  • President Barack Obama awarded Tippett the National Humanities Medal for:

    "thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom."[23][24]

  • George Foster Peabody Award for its radio and online production "The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi" in 2007, featuring interview with scholar Fatemeh Keshavarz.[25]
  • Webby Award: 2014,[26] 2008,[27] and 2005.[28]
  • Wilbur Award, Religion Communicators Council, for "Religion in a Time of War," and "Progressive Islam in America."[29]
  • Ambies Award: 2021.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who We Are". On Being. Archived from the original on February 22, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  2. ^ Janssen, Mike (August 27, 2007). "Formal religion doesn't fence in Faith". Current. In each episode, Tippett interviews one or several guests who hail from myriad disciplines—including poetry, physics, medicine, history and activism, as well as many religious traditions.
  3. ^ Adcox, Brooke (October 2011). "Spirited Away". Oklahoma Today.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Mook, Ben (September 8, 2014). "Naysayers be Damned, Public Radio's On Being Thrives as 'Social Enterprise'". The Current. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  5. ^ Freedman, Samuel (May 28, 2010). "Radio Program About Faith Defies the Skeptics". New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  6. ^ Block, Zachary (September 2003). "First-Person Singular". Brown Alumni Magazine.
  7. ^ Miller, Kay (November 2, 2002). "Radio for the Soul". The Star Tribune. p. B5.
  8. ^ Robinson, David (August 21, 2003). "Main Line Faith: 'Speaking of Faith' comes to Philadelphia". Main Line Times.
  9. ^ a b c d Thomas, Dylan (August 11, 2014). "On Being More Than Just a Radio Show". The Southwest Journal. Archived from the original on January 6, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Boorstein, Michelle (July 30, 2014). "'On Being' host Krista Tippett on the Spiritual Life of a Religion Reporter". Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  11. ^ "iTunes Best of 2014". December 9, 2014.
  12. ^ PRX to Distribute On Being
  13. ^ David Marchese (July 7, 2022). "Krista Tippett Wants You to See All the Hope That's Being Hidden". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  14. ^ Beckerman, Gal (May 2004). "Why Don't Journalists Get Religion?: A tenuous bridge to believers". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  15. ^ Tippett, Krista (January 22, 2009). "An Inner Life With New Meaning". Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  16. ^ "Walter Brueggemann — the Prophetic Imagination".
  17. ^ "On Being Project". www.guidestar.org/.
  18. ^ "Introducing The On Being Project". The On Being Project. 2018-05-07. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  19. ^ "Creating Our Own Lives". The On Being Project. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  20. ^ "Radio & Podcasts". The On Being Project. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  21. ^ a b Sturdevant, Lori (September 15, 2012). "How do we break down our walls?". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  22. ^ Smith, Megan (Fall 2014). "The Wisdom Seeker". Cake and Whiskey. p. 88.
  23. ^ White House Office of the Press Secretary (July 22, 2014). "President Obama to Award 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved December 2, 2014 – via National Archives.
  24. ^ Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (July 31, 2014). "Krista Tippett, Host Of 'On Being' Faith Broadcast, Awarded National Humanities Medal". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  25. ^ "67th Annual Peabody Awards winners announced". UGA Today. April 2, 2008.
  26. ^ "2014 People's Voice On Being". Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  27. ^ "2008 Honoree Speaking of Faith". Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  28. ^ "2005 Webby Award Winner Speaking of Faith". Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  29. ^ "Faith, Life, and Learning". Minnesota Monthly. April 2004.
  30. ^ "The Ambies: 2021 Winners". Ambies. 2021. Archived from the original on November 7, 2021. Retrieved December 12, 2021.

External links[edit]