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10 inspiring TED talks for radio creatives

TED talks are based around “ideas worth spreading.”. Earshot Creative takes a look at ten TED talks for radio people.

TED started in the 1990’s based around annual conferences with key speakers from the world of Technology, Entertainment and Design. It’s now grown into a worldwide network of events, conversations, themes and networks bringing together the best in knowledge, thoughts and inspiration.

I was very fortunate to co-produce a TEDx conference in London in February 2013 – a fantastic day of thinking, discussing and spreading of ideas based around the theme of ‘superhuman’. It’s with that in mind that I thought i’d share some of the best talks around. There’s some great talks for radio people, which you can watch online about sound, creativity, music, marketing and content. Here’s ten of the top talks to inspire and get you thinking. Do share your own favourites in the comments below.


1. Julian Treasure – The 4 Ways Sound Affects Us

Playing sound effects both pleasant and awful, Julian Treasure shows how sound affects us in four significant ways. Listen carefully for a shocking fact about noisy open-plan offices.

Julian Treasure studies sound and advises businesses on how best to use it.

2. Julie Burstein: 4 lessons in creativity

Radio host Julie Burstein talks with creative people for a living — and shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt and loss. Hear insights from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

As a producer, Julie Burstein builds places to talk (brilliantly) about creative work. Her book “Spark: How Creativity Works” shares what she has learned.

3. Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the Remix

Nothing is original, says Kirby Ferguson, creator of Everything is a Remix. From Bob Dylan to Steve Jobs, he says our most celebrated creators borrow, steal and transform.

4.Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread

In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and blogger who thinks about the marketing of ideas in the digital age. His newest interest: the tribes we lead.

5. Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold

With humor and persistence, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock dives into the hidden but influential world of brand marketing, on his quest to make a completely sponsored film about sponsorship. (And yes, onstage naming rights for this talk were sponsored too. By whom and for how much? He’ll tell you.). A great video for those that work in commercial radio.

6. Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide?

Novelist Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process, looking for hints of how hers evolved.
Amy Tan is the author of such beloved books as The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses.

7. Colin Robertson: A TED Speaker’s worst nightmare

Colin Robertson had 3 minutes on the TED stage to tell the world about his solar-powered crowdsourced health care solution. And then….

What I love about this how the team think about things differently – rather than just the standard presentation, they brought it to life. Turning things on its head is so important – a different way of delivering a link, a new way of marketing the station. Sometimes great things can happens when you think differently.

8. Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media

In a funny, rapid-fire 4 minutes, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit tells the real-life fable of one humpback whale’s rise to Web stardom. The lesson of Mister Splashy Pants is a shoo-in classic for meme-makers and marketers in the Facebook age.

Albeit slightly a few years old now – this talk just shows how powerful great content can be, particularly with the social web and provides interesting strategy for those that are involved in creation and management of social media content for radio.

9. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Thanks to Earshot reader @martinwalker7 for this video. Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”.

A nice theory looking at the inside out and leading with Why – a good video for marketeers and radio sales out there or for when you’re thinking about what messages to put in your next script or proposal.

10. Science, Storytelling, and “Gut Churn”: Jad Abumrad on the Secrets of Creative Success

OK – this isn’t a TED Talk but thanks to Earshot reader @macohibs for suggesting this talk which looks at how hind Jad Abumrad set up Radiolab, a worldwide radio show based around science and storytelling. He talks about how ‘gut churn’ is the testament of the idea that uncertainty is what fuels science and creativity.

Do please share your favourite online talks and videos in the comments box below or share via @earshotcreative

Jonathan Jacob is a S&P Manager at Global Radio with varied experience across commercial radio S&P, events, marketing and PR. He was listed in the inaugural Radio Academy 30 under 30 and produces the annual Student Radio Awards. Views are personal.