Wednesday, June 27, 2007

braking the news

This is the full text of an e-mail I am sorry to have recieved. A few of you may have gotten this but Radio Open Source deserves a bigger community:

This is not the news we ever dreamed of sharing with you.

After tomorrow's broadcast we are putting Open Source on a summer hiatus. We learned late last week that a brand-name media company that had asked to partner with us had changed its mind. So for now, the best hope on the near horizon of relaunching the program and refinancing it has gone aglimmering.

Without a substantial new funder, we cannot keep paying our bills. Your help and support has helped bridge the cost of production these last six weeks and helped pay some of our debts. For now the most responsible thing seems to be to regroup and think realistically about a new program for the fall.

We are actively dedicated, all day every day, to the essential mission: seizing the epochal opportunity of the web to stretch the public conversation... to hybridize media, to enlist the audience, to extend the palette of colors in the cultural as well as the political conversation; in short to democratize and globalize one model forum of constructive talk for the new century.

Many of you have told us to forget about conventional public broadcasting and concentrate on producing the best damn podcast on the Internet. So in order to clear our heads, accentuate the positive and focus resolutely on the future, we need to step back for the moment from daily production.

Keeping the OS website alive and dynamic is a top priority. Please don't just watch the site. Help fill it. We want to post content regularly. What would you like to see or hear? We'll post conversations we've already scheduled with Harold Bloom and Larry Summers. We've asked Sonny Rollins if he would care to stretch out again before his 50th anniversary trio concert with Roy Haynes and Christian McBride in Carnegie Hall in September. So many things to talk about, so little time! You've helped us create this space... now what do you want to do with it?

If you can help us reconceive all the fundamental things -- a conversation that's a little different, that's global and alert to the interactive possibilities of the Internet -- by all means consider yourself enlisted. If you see a threads of successful shows -- passion series, race-and-class series, musical series -- that could be models going forward, please speak up.

By far the hardest part of this decision is disbanding our amazing staff. They've stuck by us over the last two years in an intense colleague-ship of work and learning together. They have contributed mightily to the interest of the show and the website. We want to work with them again.

As always, Emerson speaks to a great deal of what we're feeling. This comes from the end of his marvelous essay "Circles."

"Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit. No love can be bound by oath or covenant to secure it against a higher love. No truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far
as they are unsettled is there any hope for them."

Thank you for passionate, engaged listenership and commentary these last two years. And let us all together keep this "community of the curious" alive and growing.

In the spirit of Emerson: Onward, ever onward!

Christopher Lydon and Mary McGrath

Our postal address is
15 Mt. Auburn Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
United States

This makes me sad, even though I gave Christopher a bad time for his frenentic pacing on the show, it was sometimes an astounding thing to listen to and always, always thought provoking. He has been a bit of a Phoenix before, keep an eye on the ashes. Does this mean radio has been killed by the iPod? Does it mean intelligent talk radio is an oxymoron? Does it mean web+radio mashups are a poor bet? Does it mean we didn't send in enough money when the main sponsor pulled out a month ago?...keep an eye on the ashes.

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