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Arts & Life


Do It Yourself Radio

Julie Sabatier, host, producer, writer and creator of Destination DIY. Photo by John Clark.

When producer Julie Sabatier first created Destination DIY — her radio show and podcast about do-it-yourselfers — she decided to tap into the spirit of DIY for both the subject and inspiration for her show.

“I was looking for a project where I could develop my radio skills,” says Sabatier, “and the topic of DIY seemed like a great umbrella for a lot of things I find really intriguing: people who apply creativity to all aspects of life, whether they’re artists, inventors, urban farmers or even economists.”

Destination DIY began five years ago on KBOO Community Radio and now airs on OPB. From the beginning, Sabatier did most of the work on the project herself — producing, writing, editing, hosting and publicizing — with help from friends, musicians, fellow producers and an audio engineer as the audience and scope of show has grown.

Sabatier sat down to talk about the series in true DIY fashion: by interviewing herself.

When to Listen

Episodes air Saturdays at noon and are rebroadcast Wednesdays at 8pm on OPB Radio.

  • Feb 26: Representing Yourself
  • Mar 5: DIY Economy
  • Mar 12: Doing it Ourselves
  • Mar 23: DIY Rituals
  • Mar 26: I Made That

So Julie, tell me … what’s Destination DIY all about? Let’s not be coy, Julie – don’t you already know?

Well maybe, but you’re telling lots of OPB listeners too. So help me out! OK, here’s the deal: It’s my own do-it-yourself project about other people passionately doing interesting DIY things.

Let’s define DIY. When most people see those three letters, they think about home improvement or crafts and sure, that’s DIY – but on the show we look at more unusual projects. It’s not how-to; it’s stories about people taking matters into their own hands.

Such as … Such as butchering their own meat or harvesting neglected fruit trees to help food banks or creating small-scale economic changes and how that can have effects on the macro level. We’ve interviewed Oregonians such as Ward Cunningham (inventor of the wiki) and Emily Martin, who makes a living selling her quirky artwork on Etsy.

So you talk the DIY-talk on the show, but do you walk the DIY-walk? You know I do! I’m an avid gardener. I make my own jam and ketchup for holiday gifts. I knit, though my skills are somewhat limited. I’ve done home improvement projects that have turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. I’m also really obsessed with making terrariums, if you must know.

I heard that not all your DIY projects have gone smoothly. Be honest now. Funny I should ask! My worm bin has been sort of a failure. I can’t seem to get their little ecosystem properly balanced. And there’s also the fact that worms are really gross. But my worm bin has inspired a future episode about DIY disasters. It’s a way to harvest success from the worm bin of failure.

Don’t expect me to laugh at that! But why risk DIY disaster just to try a project? Why not pay someone to do it for you? Well it depends on the project, but trying something yourself can be really empowering. The people in the Destinaton DIY episode about rituals had really profound things to say about creating ceremonies, from small daily rituals to significant rites of passage. Taking on a DIY project is exciting in part because it means taking a risk. As long as you’re not putting yourself in serious danger, it’ll probably be a really enriching experience.

Even this interview? Definitely! I’ve given myself some new ideas already! Thanks for our time.


What Destination DIY is and isn’t from Destination DIY on Vimeo.