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Podcast positivity

A luncheon with Lunchador Podcast Network

From food and drink to martial arts films, the artistic process, and everything coffee, the Lunchador Podcast Network (LPN) serves as a hub for all things creative and all things Rochester. Founded by Chris Lindstrom and Matt Austin, the network provides local artists with a space to collaborate and audiences with a go-to platform that satisfies a diverse collection of cultural interests. 

“The big focus is on positivity,” Lindstrom says. “And the people who we want to work with are doing positive things for the community. It’s not to say the conversations are always easy, but these are the people making Rochester the place you want to stay, the place you want to live, and their voices are important.” 

Lindstrom, who currently hosts Food About Town, has been involved in the Rochester food writing scene since the early 2000s. A blogger during the early days of Rochester Yelp, Lindstrom became a restaurant reviewer for CITY Magazine and tried his hand at podcasting shortly after—and it’s stuck ever since. Austin’s roots lie in his radio broadcasting education, time spent cohosting and engineering his friend Magnus Champlin’s show Mind of Magnus (where he coincidentally met Lindstrom), and his work with Anomaly—the Rochester Genre Film Festival. He currently hosts the podcast Anomaly Presents

There are currently eleven shows on LPN, and each show is owned by its creator. They are run independently and have complete control over all logistics and choices. Collaborating with LPN creates a mutual support system and collective space as well as a drawing board for like-minded people. 

“Podcasting has been kind of a solitary medium for all of us,” Austin says. “It can be tough without a support system to carry through and keep the content creation moving, so part of this was to create a group to help each other stay accountable and push things forward. We also all have completely different skills, so we’re able to put together this organization where we can lean on each other to improve.” 

With such a wide and growing variety of shows on the network, the “why” in their collaboration makes sense, but what about the “how”? What connected all these different groups in the first place? Simple enough—it was the studio Lindstrom built for his Food About Town podcast. Located in his house and taking over the dining room, the studio can have up to six people on mic. People had reached out to Lindstrom about needing a place to record their shows they had already been working on, and that started the network idea. 

All of LPN’s shows can be found on its website, but here’s a brief breakdown of what they’re currently playing: 

On the food and beverage side of things, they have Food About Town; Level Up, which is a coffee podcast; and Refined Taste, which features Dario Joseph and Chris Thompson doing comedy and discussing food. 

On the art side, they have Anomaly Presents; Behind the Glass, which is an underrepresented photographers gallery where Richard Colón and Quajay Donnell bring in different photographers every month to talk about their process; Behind the Studio Door, where Molly Darling and Christian Rivera do longer interviews with creators of all kinds; and Mind of Magnus

There is also a martial arts movie podcast titled Punches & Popcorn, Representation in Cinema, which is from the Our Voices Project team, and they discuss representation of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people in movies. They also host the Pauly Guglielmo Show, which brings a bit of old-school radio flair to the network. Lastly, they host Lindstrom and Austin’s network show Just Can’t Not, where they’ll talk to people doing positive things from all walks of life. 

“It’s about getting the right voices out there—not about being polarizing,” Lindstrom says. “I want to be in a place where these people’s voices are important. The more you get involved, the more you want to do good yourself and help others.” 

And it’s important to remember that all these individuals take part in the shows and the network in their spare time. 

“We’re all working-class creators, working-class artists; we’re kind of lunch pal folks,” Austin says. “There’s no big nest egg somewhere, no trust fund; this is all of us just doing it for the love of the game.” Lindstrom continues, “It’s a passion project from top to bottom.” 

All of the shows on the network are free, but listeners do have an option to tip or subscribe to the podcast for a small monetary fee. More information and links to the podcasts can be found on the website and on LPN’s Facebook and Instagram.

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