Open Source, the World’s First Podcast, Joins Hub & Spoke Audio Collective

Boston, Mass.September 3, 2019 — In a partnership bringing together one of Boston’s oldest and most respected audio productions and one of its newest media organizations, Open Source with Christopher Lydon announced today that it has joined the ranks of Hub & Spoke, the Boston-based collective of smart, idea-driven independent podcasts.


Open Source, an interview show focused on arts, ideas, and politics, is the world’s first and longest-running podcast. Host Christopher Lydon, a veteran of The New York Times, WGBH, and WBUR, recorded the launch episode in 2003 with Dave Winer, inventor of the RSS enclosure format still used as the backbone for all podcast distribution. Today the show is executive-produced by Mary McGrath—who co-created 90.9 WBUR’s daily talk show The Connection with Lydon in 1993—and produced by a talented young staff. Open Source airs on 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, Thursday nights at 9pm and Sundays at 2pm, and reaches listeners worldwide in podcast form.

Hub & Spoke was founded in 2017 to support and amplify the work of independent audio producers making idea- or story-driven podcasts about the human condition. Shows in the collective have charismatic hosts who use stories and interviews to guide listeners through mind-expanding subjects in an entertaining way. Recent episodes of Hub & Spoke shows have covered everything from the decline of progressive religious movements in the United States to the systemic flaws at Facebook, the mythology behind Plymouth Rock, the culture of premium artisanal food, the true story of Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan’s 1938 flight across the Atlantic, and the real sources of Frida Kahlo’s fame as an artist. Members collaborate across the collective to promote Hub & Spoke content, grow the listener base for each show, and pursue new funding opportunities.

“The best is yet to come in podcasting,” Lydon says. “Hub & Spoke is the place for us to help realize it. The snap, crackle and pop of independent podcasters has just begun to change both the style and substance of American discourse—about time, too! There’s boldness and brains and youth in this Hub & Spoke collective to make us all proud of a transformation underway.”

Wade Roush, host of the Hub & Spoke podcast Soonish and co-founder of Hub & Spoke, says: “I’ve been watching, listening to, and emulating Chris Lydon ever since he hosted the WGBH Ten O’Clock News in the 1980s. And I’m thrilled about the opportunity learn from Chris and Mary now.” 

“Working with Open Source elevates Hub & Spoke in a way we could only have dreamed about before,” Roush continues. “But we plan to give back by helping to anchor Open Source in the podcasting community and sharing the show’s riches with new audiences.”

“Chris is a master interviewer, audio innovator, and dear friend, and I’m thrilled to enter into this partnership with him, Mary, and the whole band,” says Tamar Avishai, host of The Lonely Palette and Hub & Spoke co-founder. “Open Source does more than tie perfectly into Hub & Spoke's mission: its soulful pleasure in all things intellectual and conversational will take it to the next level.”

“Ranging from Bauhaus to Beijing, Chris and Mary produce the smartest, most civilized show on the air,” says Zachary Davis, host of the Hub & Spoke show Ministry of Ideas. “Their commitment to elevated but engaging discourse is one we fully embrace at Hub & Spoke.”

The three founding shows at Hub & Spoke were The Lonely Palette, an art history podcast from Avishai; Ministry of Ideas, a history and culture show from Davis, producer Nick Andersen, and managing editor Galen Beebe; and Soonish, Roush’s podcast about technology and the future. Culture Hustlers, a vox pop and interview show at the intersection of art and business from host and producer Lucas Spivey, and Iconography, a history show from producer Charles Gustine, joined in June 2018. The Constant, a show about “the history of getting things wrong” from Chicago-based playwright Mark Chrisler, became the collective’s sixth show in July 2019. Former Hub & Spoke show Hi-Phi Nation, from Barry Lam, joined the Slate podcast network in 2018.

Hub & Spoke hosts will immediately begin promoting Open Source though pre-roll and post-roll announcements on their shows, and Lydon will recommend episodes of Hub & Spoke shows during the weekly broadcast and podcast versions of Open Source.

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