KANSAS CITY, MO – With a nod to the feisty Elvis Costello song, “Radio Radio,” Kansas City filmmaker Kevin McKinney wants to know: Why is so much of FM radio in the hands of fools trying to anesthetize the way that we feel?
McKinney digs for the disturbing answer in his locally produced feature-length documentary, “Corporate FM,” which will be shown at 8:30 p.m. May 25 and 26 and 2:30 p.m. May 27 at the Screenland Crown Center Theatre, 2450 Grand Blvd. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors (all seats $6 before 6 p.m.).
“Corporate FM” was named Best Documentary Feature at the 2012 AMC Theatres Kansas City FilmFest. Featuring insightful interviews with radio industry insiders, the film traces how commercial FM radio stations in Kansas City and elsewhere were systematically consolidated for the profit of faraway owners and simultaneously ruined for loyal local listeners – and what the ripple effect of that loss means to our communities.
“I started making this film seven years ago, when I realized that something about radio was dying,” McKinney says. “Commercial radio had stopped providing new music – local or national – in regular rotation, outside of a tired market-researched re-warming of old trends. Commercial radio everywhere was no longer building critical mass behind local bands.”
McKinney wondered what other parts of his city were being ignored by radio stations increasingly being operated by remote control and replacing live local voices with prerecorded and satellite programs, thereby ending the traditional symbiotic relationship between radio and the community. He realized that not only emerging bands were being held back, but also the emergence of new ideas on a local level.
“With the help of many friends, deejays and experts, we put together the whole story of what happened to locally owned commercial radio and how to get it back,” McKinney says. “I never dreamed that we would uncover a financial shell game that doomed radio from the moment it started consolidating.”
For more information about “Corporate FM” and to see a trailer for the film, go to fmfilm.com.
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