Congrats to Hub and Spoke

They are our people, so today's entire newsletter is just for them

Did you read Hot Pod today? If you made it past the part about the bad idea and behavior company Himalaya, you saw that Hub and Spoke were awarded a $100,000 grant from the Rasmussen Family Fund.

Congrats to founder Wade Roush and all the shows in the collective!

Timber recently published this story about the collective as a way to point out that making a more-or-less formal group of podcasts that help each other out doesn’t mean you need to put on your Patagonia VC vest and start the next Gimlet.

Indie podcasters can continue to own their IP, work to promote each other’s shows, and make an entity that can accept gifts, donations, and sponsorship.

I love this, and I hope, as Wade mentioned to Amanda in the story, that he’s successful at making a template, no matter how informal, for other podcasters to follow.

Wade’s approach isn’t new. Ashley Carman pointed out that he followed a track laid out by Radiotopia and PRX. But he did it at an extremely small scale which is interesting and hopeful. Here is an off the top of my head list of ways podcasters make money:

  1. Ads

  2. Subscriptions

  3. Merch

  4. Using the podcast to drive the sales of some high-touch service like consulting

  5. Individual donations (Patreon, buy me a coffee)

  6. Grants and philanthropy

I think number 6 used to be limited to people that had a public media pedigree— people who understood the ins and outs of public media board rooms and could speak the language of large donors like the MacArher Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

But now we live in a world where basically no independent media can survive and yet there are an increasing number of incredibly wealthy people and companies that don’t even have enough ways to spend all their money.

One way of looking at Wade’s trailblazing is that he has invited small to mid-sized donors that want to be patrons of the arts to the podcasting party in a more visible and centralized role than they would have by donating in the traditional public media world. Maybe collectively, these smaller donors can begin to understand that independent podcasts are exactly the type of art that needs them.

If this catches on, it could be very good for independent creators. I’d love for there to be peer pressure on newly minted tech billionaires to fund a podcast collective. “It’s what everyone is doing! It shows you have taste! Everyone knows that buying a professional basketball team is so 2000.” I’m for it! How about you?

Thanks for reading!

See you next week.

—Jon Christensen