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.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.