LYDON LIVE. Christopher Lydon's long-awaited return to the airwaves occurred earlier this evening with the debut of his new hour-long program, Open Source. In keeping with his embrace of all things Internet, I didn't listen to it on the radio. Instead, I streamed it from the WGBH website, recorded the stream with WireTap, and listened to the show on my iBook after it was over. I mean, why would I want to do it the easy way?
Lydon's guests were three blogging pioneers, David Weinberger, Doc Searls, and Dave Winer, the last of whom created the RSS (Real Simple Syndication) standard that is making the blog world easier to navigate, and that helps makes podcasting possible. Lots of smart talk, lots of blog triumphalism that sometimes bordered on the absurd (someone actually said it was "unethical" for those who run the New York Times website to link mainly to Times content), and a bit of outright silliness.
The silliest (I'm not sure who said this, but neither did I hear anyone object) was an observation that kids today do their homework while instant messaging with a bunch of their friends - and that this is supposed to be good! The ones who don't get it, we were told, are teachers, who continue to grade homework on an individual basis. Our sage continued: "The way to be smart is to have smart friends." Good grief. I'm glad my 14-year-old son wasn't listening. As it is, it's all we can do to get him to turn off iChat when he's supposed to be doing his homework.
From time to time, Lydon would interrupt the proceedings so that a member of his crew could check in and tell listeners what the online audience was saying. I've poked around the Open Source website, but it was not immediately apparent to me where these people were having their say.
All in all, a good debut. And, of course, it was great to hear Lydon back on local radio for the first time in four years.