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LOWELL - The University of Massachusetts Lowell today announced that it will co-produce the national Christopher Lydon show - "Open Source" - in association with WGBH Radio.
The one-hour program, which marks the return of the popular radio host to the airwaves after a four-year hiatus, will be broadcast Monday through Thursday at 7 p.m. on WGBH in Boston and the University's WUML (91.5 FM) and nationally syndicated by Public Radio International.
Lydon also will work with the University to design a new communications major; contribute to WUML programming, staff training and student recruitment; help create a student-produced local radio program; and appear in University advertising.
"We are extremely fortunate that Christopher Lydon has agreed to bring his professional expertise and unique vision to the University," said Louis DiNatale, executive director of public affairs. "His national show will not only attract more listeners to WUML radio, it also will provide a valuable resource for developing and expanding communications opportunities for more students on campus."
"Open Source" is designed as a broad-ranging civic and cultural conversation that will take unique advantage of the transformation of media - particularly the new range and freedom afforded by the Internet in combination with terrestrial broadcasting. It is expected to push the customary barriers of format, politics, participation and excellence in the new media.
After University studios are upgraded, WUML will become the permanent site and source of the broadcast in 2006. In the interim, the national radio program and its closely linked website will be broadcast from WGBH in Boston. It will credit UML as a partner in the production and the University will retain underwriting rights.
Beginning in 2005-06, Lydon will host a local student-produced program focusing on Lowell and the Merrimack Valley on Fridays from 7 to 8 p.m. The show will explore the historic contributions of the Merrimack region, from literature to work, and tie them to today's multicultural city and region and the University.
UML students will engineer and produce the show, which will serve as a radio/web laboratory for the new communications program.
"The vision is to build a University of Massachusetts Lowell course of study, a new undergraduate communications major, which will be a standard of innovation and excellence in the student and community radio and communications field," DiNatale said.
DiNatale said that no student fees will be used for the Lydon Show and WUML will remain student managed. All costs for the new programming will be covered by reorganizing communications, marketing and advancement operations and obtaining underwriting.
"Today, communications is electronic; we are reducing print and snail mail for internal and external communications and converting those resources into an electronic communications strategy with Christopher Lydon, a student-managed radio station and eventually a nationally recognized communications major at the core," DiNatale said.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental, and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 80 degree programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, and the School of Health and Environment and the Graduate School of Education. Visit the website at www.uml.edu.
* Editor's Note: A photo of Christopher Lydon is available upon request.