Original Machine, The Machine
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Nicholas Young, a renegade creative living in Chicago – I’m equal parts designer, developer, voice-over artist, and filmmaker.
My current projects involve a lot of the last two: my company, Original Machine, is a creative storytelling firm. We help build brands by distilling their essence to a few core concepts, then use multiple media types (film, design, and print) to convey what we discovered. I also founded The Machine, an online broadcasting network for creatives and entrepreneurs.
What podcasts do you listen to?
I’m a radio junkie. When I’m not producing or hosting shows myself, there is always something playing in my studio. Whether it’s NPR, or a small one-person show, if the quality is solid, I’m easily hooked.
Right now, I’m into Jared Polin’s RAWTalk, a weekly podcast from the intersection of photography and business. Sometimes it’s just Polin behind the mic (which is awesome, especially when he goes on a rant), but his interviews with photographic masters are intellectually stimulating too. I suggest starting with Episode 40, when he’s joined by Bon Gruen.
Alton Brown brought food science to America’s TV viewing populus, and now, he’s podcasting. The Alton Browncast is another one of my favorites. He dives deep into the personalities and quirks of his guests, shares recipes, and answers a lot of reader mail. Even if everything you eat comes out of a box, pre-cooked and ready to consume, listen. I think you’ll subscribe too. Start with Episode One: The Beginning, and work your way forward.
And finally (but certainly not last in my rankings), my friend Joshua Wentz‘s Downcast deserves to be on this list. It’s an experimental, genre-bending audio show that sometimes challenges my concept of ‘music’. He digs out and spins unheard vinyl, submissions to his label, and includes a few tracks of his own. The recent series of live-improv mixes from Chicago Antisocial are not to be missed.
How do you listen to podcasts?
I once was a purist: using nothing but iTunes on my Mac, meticulously downloading and syncing each episode until they were queued and ready to play on my iPod. Since those days (which I’ll refer to as the Dark Ages of Podcasting), I’ve learned better. In fact, I hardly use the term Podcast at all, except in this interview, when describing my listening habits. Long before the RSS Enclosure spec was drafted, we’ve been putting media online. From a webserver, you could stream or download the file, depending on how fast your connection was. You had the power to choose.
These days, I’ve revived my power to choose, and stream most of the shows, unless I’m leaving home for an extended period of time, and trekking to a place where I know connectivity will be slow. I’m a big fan of Pocketcasts, an iOS and Android app, which I use almost exclusively. I juggle almost 12 subscriptions, so the push notification feature is nice. I know when my favorite show has updated, and can listen immediately, without the need to manually check. Other apps are just to check on my shows, and make sure the artwork isn’t distorted.