Christopher Lydon’s year-and-a-half-old radio program, “Open Source,” has been dealt a blow, but apparently not a fatal one. Since its inception, “Open Source” has been ostensibly based at WUML Radio (91.5 FM), the UMass Lowell radio station. Now, according to this post by Lydon, interim chancellor David MacKenzie has decided to end the relationship.
The Lowell Sun editorializes that “Open Source” was just too expensive, noting that Lydon is paid $12,500 a month.
The UMass Lowell connection has been an odd one from the beginning. As I reported in March 2005, the move was highly unpopular with the students and community activists who were involved in WUML.
Still, it sounded like it could be a good deal for UMass. At the time, there was talk of building a new state-of-the-art studio at the university, and of Lydon hosting a Lowell-only show on Fridays with the help of students. That never came to pass, and Lydon is still only on the air four evenings a week — from Boston.
Lydon’s partnership with PRI is intact, and he continues to broadcast from 7 to 8 p.m. at WGBH Radio (89.7 FM).
It’s not easy to get a radio show off the ground, and UMass Lowell supported us through a year and a half of a then untested concept that debuted on three stations. Support from UMass Lowell gave us time to build an audience of more than 150,000 listeners a night on thirty-one stations. Around 80,000 different people come to our website each month, from more than 150 different countries. 8,000 people download our podcasts.
“Open Source” is excellent, and Lydon was off the air for too long before his return. Let’s hope this is no more than a temporary setback.