Readers respond to Bill McKibben's article mourning the loss of WBUR's daily talk show.

Published March 1, 2001 8:30PM (EST)

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Where did you dig up the sycophant who wrote this drivel? Not all the "Connection" listeners feel this way, especially those who send in money to WBUR to sustain their programming. The author of the article failed to mention how Lydon refuses to fundraise during his hour, so not only does he want me to pay his meal ticket, it is beneath him to ask for it. The "Car Talk" guys might own a stake in their show, but they fundraise like crazy and realize that they have to work for a living.

Lydon is no deity to the intelligentsia, as this writer would have us believe. The man likes to hear himself talk a lot more than his guests -- so he interrupts them with extemporaneous 30-second questions that begin with the big bang and end in 3010 and that are more rhetorical than answerable. The show will go on, quite nicely, without him. If he wants more money than is on the table (he and his producer will be by far the highest paid at their position in public radio), Lydon should try his hand at commercial radio. I bet in Boston, WRKO AM radio listeners would rate him just behind Live Candlepin Bowling -- in dead last place.

-- Don Fluckinger

Thank you for featuring the dis-connection of Christopher Lydon here in Boston. I work as an artist, alone in my studio in the morning, then as a mom, alone with kids in the afternoon. Chris Lydon became my daily link to thoughtful adults all over town, up and down the country, around the world, in and out of the arts and history. Sure, sometimes he irritated me, and sometimes the topics didn't float my boat. But usually the conversation drew me in, made me laugh, argue or think. Often it was the grist for conversations with other grown-ups later in the week.

Now WBUR offers us a mild show, basically "Talk of the Nation AM." Nothing BAD, but no spark. Your author's right, Lydon was a jazzman of talk radio, and I want him back.

-- Linda Dunn

If Salon were going to run an article about Rush Limbaugh, would you commission a dittohead to write it? That's just what you've done in allowing Bill McKibben to bemoan the temporary loss of Christopher Lydon as host of WBUR-Boston's "The Connection" talk show. True, this public radio call-in show is one of the best around, but that's not because of Lydon. I know -- I listen to "The Connection" every day.

As a supporting member of WBUR, I deeply resent Lydon's assertion that "The Connection" should serve as his road to riches. In public radio, every dime of revenue should go toward supporting and improving the shows and stations, rather than enriching talking heads who already have the highest salaries in their field (as does Lydon). If WBUR and "The Connection" have enough extra money floating around that they can afford to hand huge chunks of it over to Lydon, they certainly don't need my membership dollar -- and if Lydon gets what he's asking for, WBUR won't get my money anymore.

-- Kate Binder

The idea that Chris Lydon should be given ownership of "The Connection" because WBUR gave ownership of "Car Talk" to Tom and Ray Magliozzi is simply ridiculous. Comparison between the two shows falls apart on one important point: there could be no "Car Talk" without Tom and Ray. The idea of anyone else hosting this show is positively ludicrous. Personally, I listen to their show every week despite having next to no interest in cars, because their on-air personas are so interesting and fun. I can't say that about "The Connection," because pretty much any smug bastard could host that show, and it's not like it's difficult to find smug bastards in public radio.

WBUR manager Jane Christo should be commended for refusing to back down. WBUR lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue when they gave ownership of "Car Talk" away, and she shouldn't be the same fool twice.

-- Stewart Mason

Wow, after McKibben's piece on the battle between "The Connection" and WBUR management, it must be the case that we are starved for intelligent conversation in this country!

Lydon is simply after money and power and if that is not evident, then we've all been suckered into thinking that whatever is intelligent, and hence not part of pop culture, deserves to be saved and glorified (and paid for handsomely). Lydon is simply a well-informed talk show host who listens well and, on occasion, asks intelligent questions.

Let's not come to Lydon's aid because we want to save what is desperately missing in our society, viz., intellectual culture, but rather because we want to highlight that money and power don't mix well with intellectual goings-on. If Lydon's intentions were to make big money, then the business world would have been the choice arena for him.

-- Vincent Scordo

By Salon Staff

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