Updates on Two Lean Radio Shows: “Lean Nation” and “American Innovator”


Many of you may have been following developments related to two radio shows about Lean that have graced the terrestrial airwaves and internet broadcasts over the past year or so.

I have a few brief updates and one appeal to share with you here. One show is re-launching in 2011 and one might be ending…

The Lean Nation, a show started by Karl Wadensten, the President of Rhode Island-based manufacturer VIBCO, has been on hiatus since November 23, 2010. In their last show, they talk about the coming format change where they will re-launch in 2011 as a two-hour weekly show each Tuesday afternoon instead of being a M-F daily hour-long show.

Karl and his co-hosts recently celebrated one full year on the air (listen to that show that includes many guest call-ins, including yours truly). I'm thrilled with that Karl was able to accomplish with his show. I remember when I first heard that there was going to be a radio show about Lean, I wasn't quite sure what to think. My first thought was “is there really an audience for that on radio?” I was a bit skeptical, but I was happy to see Karl succeed. I was honored to appear on the show four times as a guest (click here for appearances).

Best wishes to Karl and his crew on their relaunch.

The American Innovator with Paul Akers has been running as a Saturday show out of Washington State, also on regular radio, an internet feed, and an iTunes podcast. Paul, known for his YouTube videos and his run for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, is the President of FastCap. Paul's interviews have included our friend Dr. John Toussaint. You can also check out his LeanAmerica.org site.

Paul has been considering ending his show, but if you want to encourage him to continue, there are a few things you can do (and I'm posting this partly on the suggestion of a blog reader, Sam, who emailed me and my friend and fellow blogger Ron Pereira who posted a similar appeal, as did Jon Miller). Sam wrote, in part:

Paul has said that unless he gets another 800 “votes” to stay on the air, which can be a text message, e-mail, or phone call, bringing him to his target of 1000 votes, he's going to quit doing the show and go skiing.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Sorry, but while Paul Akers’ show is well-done and informative, the entire theme of “1,000 votes or I go skiing” smacks too much of Oral Roberts exhorting his followers that if he didn’t raise a certain amount of money he would be “called home.” Grow up–the radio program is in a marketplace and needs a viable business model. It should succeed or not depending on the perceived value to/by the market.


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