Listen Up

Appears in the February 2023 issue.

Two local wellness podcasts to add to your queue

Joe Chura during his ‘Not Almost There’ podcast
Joe Chura on Not Almost There

While national podcasts tend to get most of the attention, one of the beauties of the format is that the right host with the right guests discussing the right topics can build a devoted local following—something that two Naperville-produced podcasts on health and wellness are doing.

Not Almost There

Joe Chura found both the concept and name for his podcast from his experience running his first marathon in 2015 in Chicago. Coming off heart and back surgery a decade earlier, the Naperville resident’s overcoming physical adversity to compete that day is an inspiring story. But Chura also distinctly remembers a sign some wise guy posted early along the race route: three words that would eventually become the name of the podcast Chura launched in 2021. Rather than let the sign break his spirit, he embraced it, using it as another hurdle to get over. Examining the push-pull of those two mindsets—challenge and resilience—across a variety of endeavors, Chura has self-produced more than 60 episodes, having shared the mic with such guests as skateboard legend Tony Hawk, Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy, tubist Richard Antione White, and brain coach and author Jim Kwik (Limitless).

Chura says the podcast continues to be an extension of the kinds of things he wants to learn about himself. And by seeking out people who have overcome adversity to get a better understanding of the ideas that inspire them, he hopes to give listeners examples they can emulate. “It’s great to know I’ve created something that’s really going to have an impact on people’s lives,” he says. “I like the idea of helping people get out of their own way.”


Louise Barnard on ‘ParkTalk’
Louise Barnard on ParkTalk


Kicking off in early 2018 as an audio version of its State of the Park District address, this podcast from the Naperville Park District has produced more than a hundred 15-minute episodes on a variety of themes, generating more than 18,000 plays from listeners. Featuring an array of guests that has included staff and board members, representatives from other city agencies, volunteers, and program participants, ParkTalk has covered topics related to the district’s mission to promote healthy lives, healthy minds, and a healthy community—from local mental health resources and the benefits of yoga to senior fitness options and pickleball.

“We wanted to provide this on-demand resource to the community as a way for residents to learn more about the park district and some of the common issues that we care about as a community,” says director of marketing and communications Sameera Luthman. “We believe that connecting with these guests brings a personal voice, expertise, and perspective that can bring a topic to life or inspire someone to try something new or make a change in their life or health.”


Photos courtesy of Chris Braggs/Go Brewing (Not Almost There) and Naperville Park District (ParkTalk)