Crazy Good Turns is the tonic your podcast lineup needs. In a time inundated by a divisive political landscape and constantly heartbreaking news (RIP Vine), Crazy Good Turns shares stories of tremendous selflessness against the background of independent music. We sat down with Co-Creator and Host, Brad Shaw, to talk wild kindness, inspiring narratives and how CGT finds the most captivating stories across the country.
How did this idea evolve?
I retired from Home Depot in 2015 around the same time as my prior boss, former CEO Frank Blake. I was head of communications, which included all corporate giving and philanthropy. That meant I had a good window into the nonprofit world through the grants The Home Depot Foundation made and the boards I sat on.
In November of 2015, Frank and I were having coffee when he observed that ‘it’s easy to say our careers were about business but in the end all we were doing was storytelling – we had to tell compelling stories to motivate half a million employees and Wall Street, as well as get the media interested; now let’s figure out a way to tell stories for good.’ He’s the one who came up with the idea of telling stories about nonprofits, then I refined the idea as a lush, 20-minute narrative, and he had the idea to also include new, interesting music as a part of our platform.
What makes a good story for Crazy Good Turns?
Frankly, craziness! The people we feature are crazy enough to think they can change the world and stubborn enough to actually do it. For example, Bruce Deel, the founder of City of Refuge, moved his wife and five daughters into an old church in the worst neighborhood in Atlanta. That’s an amazing story. Also, we love interesting twists and turns, back stories and connections. If there is a connection to the cause that has a compelling story, that is another way in. A good example of that is when we interviewed a triple amputee Afghanistan war veteran to intro the episode about Tunnel to Towers, an organization that builds smart homes for catastrophically wounded vets.
Tell me about Season Two.
We’re kicking off in mid-January. We’ve already got five episodes identified, including one about Music Maker Relief Fund – that is a very cool organization and gave me the chance to interview some old blues musicians. We’re excited about working on the rest of the season with some really incredible stories based here in Atlanta and beyond.
What do you hope for the nonprofits you feature and what do you hope for your listeners?
Though nonprofits get notoriety and attention, they don’t always get it the way they would like it. When you see hype and publicity around nonprofits it’s often in short bursts with limited attention. No outlet will tell a 20-minute narrative because traditional media just doesn’t have the time. We know from the feedback we get from nonprofits that we’re actually doing them a pretty rich service by telling their stories lushly and with grace.
We also hope this gives inspiration for listeners to be better and do good things for others. If this inspires people to do crazy good turns, either big or small, that’s a great thing. We want this to be an antidote to the nastiness in the world for listeners; the world has become so polarized and vitriolic. We want to be a beacon of good, an antidote, an oasis that people can turn to for good news.
Where do you see this going in the future?
We went into this thinking that if five people listen to this, we’ll be fine. We didn’t have grand aspirations but we’ve gotten a really strong and positive reaction like coverage from Huffington Post. We know we have produced a great product as a collective team; now we are focusing on distribution and awareness. We are committed to full seasons of at least 15 episodes for a while; this is definitely a multi-year effort and everything is moving in the right direction.
How can people support Crazy Good Turns?
Give us a listen and spread the word! Then give us a review and rating on iTunes, which is important for visibility within the iTunes podcast platform.
We also need ideas. They could be from anywhere across the country; we are nationally focused although two of the episodes on the first season are based here in Atlanta. If you’ve got ideas for nonprofits or individuals we should cover, let us know on the website. If you know a band or are a band with music you would like to be featured, you can submit that on our website. We’re trying to use our website and digital footprint to crowdsource both stories and music. The more submissions we get, the better.