Mixing Media

New York Times: With its long reliance on talk formats and call-in programs, radio was arguably the first open-source media form. Now a new Public Radio International program, “Open Source from P.R.I.,” will test whether the collective intelligence permeating the Web can make not just loud radio, but smart radio. Not only does the program pull from unfiltered voices and opinions found on blogs, Open Source uses its own blog to cull ideas and sources from its listeners.
Listeners are invited to make suggestions on Open Source’s blog, where they are openly posted along with ideas from the program’s five producers. When the comment flow starts and suggestions are made – including recommendations for guests – the audience can watch the program come together, sometimes over the course of a week, other times in an afternoon.
Christopher Lydon, the program’s host, who created it with its executive producer, Mary McGrath, said, “We are trying to push talk radio to a new range with the kind of Internet extensions in both getting the signal out and harvesting the energy and insight that comes on the Web.”
John Barth, station collaboration manager at PRX, a platform for the exchange of public radio programs, said one attraction of the blog is its openness about the program’s creation. It offers a ringside seat as the staff sorts through what works and what doesn’t.
“I think they’re taking a really bold step,” Mr. Barth said. Because of the program’s interactive component, its benchmark of success might be less the number of stations that ultimately carry the program and more the online presence Open Source establishes.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Brand builder at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Believer in Gossage, Bernbach and Clow. Doer of the things written about herein.