(By Deborah Parenti) I recently had the chance to get a sneak peek of the movie “AM Radio.” Needless to say, they had me with the title.
My first radio job was at an AM station and like others whose roots were cultivated somewhere within that 540-1610 kHz band, I can’t help but feel a special bond with those frequencies. Certainly, the challenges faced by AM radio today cannot be denied. But nor can the memories and dare I say, affection shared by many radio diehards be dismissed out of hand.
So I was biased from the moment I started watching “AM Radio.” Without giving too much of the plot away, the movie centers on a radio personality who, having fallen from his glory days on top, finds himself working as a late-night AM talk show host at his friend, Tony’s (Eddy Rubin) struggling station. Directed by Ricky Burchel, the movie was filmed in part at WGNS in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Granted, some of DJ Taz’s (Omar Gooding) language would have him yanked off any real FCC regulated station, but his passion and how he plays his audience make for good theater. It’s the rapport he establishes with one caller, Lucy, (Phylicia Morgan), however, that not only provides the evolving storyline but some warm and thoughtful on-air conversation. As does the obviously strong affection and support of his boss and friend, Tony. Anyone who has ever worked with personalities will recognize that kind of bond – part mentor, part friend, part parent/child. No matter how old the child, it’s always a fine balance between tough love and compassion.
Although somewhat predictable, “AM Radio” provides 1:30 hours of enjoyment and escape. And watching DJ Taz run the board, open the mic, and take a call remind anyone who has ever worked in radio how magic those moments are. Theater of the mind. Companionship for the lonely. Food for the soul.
Look for “AM Radio” to be released nationwide sometime this summer.
The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal has details on how the premiere went Friday night HERE.