Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Day 181 - May the Source Be With You

Last night’s interview with Christopher Lydon was more like talking to a newly found cousin than to a radio host.

Broadcast from National Public Radio station WGBH in Cambridge, Open Source is an interactive radio-internet show that takes a flying leap into an ‘unmistakable a border-crossing conversational culture.’

From our first contact with producer Robin Amer, we felt at home with the idea of talking about our soldiers and their experiences in Iraq, as well as our own journey stateside. Other guests included Barbara Kelly, mother of superblogger Kevin Kelly and his brother who is also in Iraq. We were joined by Amanda Jones, wife of superhusband Randall and sister-in-law to Ben, both in the 150th.

If you missed the show, you can still listen online.

I actually didn’t read the “process” of how this incredibly creative group produces their show until now. After the initial brainstorming session, they throw out the proverbial posting bait, hoping the rest of us will bite:

Every time we agree on a new idea that we think can sustain a full hour of talking, we post it to the blog. Usually this is just a paragraph — a piece of truth and two unanswered questions — to help us as we frantically call and Google around to find the people who talk well and have something to say. (More...)

After that, the show evolves as people begin to post comments or questions.

You know more people than we do. If we are talking about banking, you perhaps have an aunt who had an unfortunate experience with an ATM. Perhaps you are the great-great-grandchild of JP Morgan…

I really like this! (I can see Myron rolling his eyes, like, ‘Oh, great! One more thing she’s hooked on!) What a great concept for some teacher to use in a classroom!

Congratulations to the Open Source team for augmenting our efforts to keep the experiences of our soldiers on the front burners of listener’s hearts instead of just on the front page of the newspaper.

The most disappointing part of the evening was not hearing our own soldiers' voices on the air with us. We got this note from SFC Kelly this morning:

I am so sorry that I wasn't able to get online or call. Sometimes things come up. I have just now returned from a mission and didn't even have a chance to email. I was so looling forward to this. Seems like the show went well. Take care everyone.

Maybe the reason all of us felt so comfortable with the ROS team is because they share so much of what we call “southern hospitality," even on their web site:
It sounds a little fruity, we know. “Everybody join hands,” this seems to read, “and we’ll make beautiful radio together.” But it’s kind of true. We’re trying to produce radio in a completely new way. Hop in.

Thanks, Chris. And Robin. And all the rest of your crew.

Watch out! You may have recruited another Open Source regular!