Kevin McKinney (director/producer/editor/camera) Born in Wiesbaden Germany, as a US military dependent, McKinney has witnessed the impact of local broadcasting on many different communities and cultures. This led him to make Corporate FM when he began to see the resource of radio in the United States lose local ownership in the late 90s. He has spoken at the National Press Club about the repercussions of consolidation in radio. He has traveled the nation espousing the benefits of local broadcasting and is an ardent supporter of NPR and community radio. McKinney graduated from the University of Kansas with a double major in Sociology and Theatre/Film. His feature documentary work includes camera and sound on “Body of War” directed by Phil Donahue. He played Abraham Lincoln in Spike Lee’s “Confederate States of America” He is a winner or the Aspiring Filmmakers’s Award for his previous film Planet Trash.
Jill McKeever (producer/editor) is a cross-disciplinary artist living in Kansas City, MO. With a background in music, dance, graphic design, web, video editing, and sound design, she is drawn to a large variety of work. In addition to shooting, editing, and producing Corporate.FM, she is a botanical perfumer and owner of ‘For Strange Women’ perfume. Additional projects range from her iphone app “Cat Translator” to experimental audio and music recordings. Jill’s love for music and desire to support the bands that act as a deeply uniting force drew her to Kevin’s message in “Corporate.FM”.
Jeff Peak (director of photography) Jeff is an independent cinematographer, director and producer. His past work includes the independent feature documentary Kansas vs Darwin, which he shot and co-produced, and the independent feature Play On. His films have been seen in festivals from Wichita to Wales. The interest in documentaries stems from his start at a PBS affiliate where he began his career as an editor and shooter, and a brief stint as a news cameraman and editor on the island of Grenada, W.I. Jeff has been recognized with accolades that include multiple Emmy awards, festival audience awards and various corporate filmmaking plaques, trophies, and drink coasters. Jeff resides with his wife and two children, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Danny Cox (Narrator) recorded his first album “Live at 7 Cities” at the 7 Cities Tavern in Cincinnati Ohio in 1963. AM radio station WCKY played this album giving him a regular following. Danny says that it “jump-started his career”. From a young age Danny has cared deeply about civil rights and his community. He marched (and was arrested) as an 8th grader so that African-Americans would have the right to go to the same swimming pool as everyone else. This passion stayed with him and touches his work as a songwriter and music educator today. He has written lyrics and music for several plays from the African-American perspective including “Fair Ball” about the Kansas City Monarchs and “Black Cowboy Sings”. He has released 8 records since his early recordings at the 7 Cities. He has played Carnegie Hall. Today he is very active teaching children about folk music and their place and responsibility in the legacy of civil rights.
Michael Halloran has an ear for potential and has used that ear to discover and prosper the local musicians wherever he has lived. In San Diego he introduced the city to its own emerging talent. Those bands, including Blink 182, Jewel, Jason Mraz, and Anya Marina went on to become part of the larger American culture. It used to be that bands were able to reach new levels in their careers because someone at their local radio station cared enough to play them when they were unknown and without contracts. These musicians quickly went from gigs at bars to arenas. Mike was educated in England where he was heavily influenced by the legendary DJ John Peel. Today he is working on a local TV show called “SD Music Scene”.
Jewel (Kilcher) was living in her van on the streets of San Diego when 91x first started playing a bootleg recording of her over the airwaves in a steady rotation. Because of this, she became a household name in that city long before she was known to the rest of the country. Her folksy unplugged style was a departure for what rock radio traditionally had played. Her first album sold 12 million copies and she graced the cover of Newsweek with the byline: “Macho music is out…”. She had helped herald in a new popular music movement exemplified by “Lilith Fair”. Today as a proud mother she has recorded an album of lullabies. Jewel can also be seen touring with her latest music and showering attention onto her devoted fans that follow her online.
Wayne Coyne is the lead singer for the Flaming Lips. He lives and works in Oklahoma City where he is also an ambassador for the cities’ development . His psychedelic space rock music was first played on a local college radio station in Norman Oklahoma. The band received it’s big break when a college radio station in San Francisco California that had ties to Warner Bros started playing their first album.
Tom Bunch has worked as a concert promoter, talent buyer, venue owner, event producer, band manager and consultant. In these roles has worked with Toadies, Butthole Surfers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, NIN. Pearl Jam, Janes Addiction,Public Enemy, George Clinton, Johnny Depp, Beastie Boys, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and many other well-known acts. He witnessed first-hand the consolidation of the once diverse and competitive concert promoting, record label and radio business’. He maintains that new popular music movements have not germinated since the music business started operating by numbers instead of love for music. He is however doing his part to promote new sounds. Today he represents Makana, the Hawaiian Slack guitarist whose song “We Are the Many” <http://makanamusic.com/albums/albums-by-makana/we-are-the-many/> has become an anthem for the “Occupy” movement.
Josh Kosman is a former editor at Mergermarket.com and a former senior writer for The Deal and Buyouts Newsletter. He discovered while covering the finance industry that the Buyout barons from the 1980s were still around under a new name: “Private Equity”. He says the public needed to know that many companies were being mortgaged and it was the public that was paying the price through loss of jobs and tax revenue. Over 10 years he developed the concept of “The Buyout of America”, a book aimed at a general audience. Penguin’s Portfolio division published the expose in 2009. Hyperlink: http://buyoutofamerica.com
Jeanne Ashley began her radio career while still in High School, on the Armed Forces “Far East Network”. Since 1989, she has worked continually at stations in Hampton VA, Utica NY, Syracuse, NY, and Kansas City, MO. Jeanne is currently the evening personality at 101.5 LITE FM (WLYF) in Miami Florida. “My hope for this industry is a widespread return to true live and local radio. I can dream, can’t I?”
Michael Copps is a former commissioner of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Unlike most FCC commissioners, Chairman Copps has not used his position in government to gain financial windfalls from big media owners. He may be found speaking on behalf of the public interest as a special advisor to nonpartisan media advocacy groups such as Common Cause.
Jeff Peterson‘s work at KLZR “the Lazer” put Lawrence, Kansas on the map as a music destination. Emerging bands from across the US were often shocked when Lawrence crowds would sing along to songs that were not widely known anywhere else. Jeff’s regular rotation of local bands alongside popular new bands on his show helped push the local bands into bigger venues. Jeff adds: “The love of music inspired me to get into radio, and in turn radio fueled my passion for music.”
Rose Diehl (KMAJ) worked at the same radio station in Topeka, KS for over 28 years. Even though she was cut by the new owners, (Cumulus) she said she still felt incredibly blessed to have been able to build a lasting relationship with her listeners. Her audience recognized her voice as they would a family member. Rose’s hope is to one day again work for a mom & pop-owned radio station that is involved in the community. She says, “You can not serve the public if you are just voice-tracked and not there…You gotta have somebody there in the studio to answer the phone. That’s the connection…and now with all the social media, that’s important [too] but you’ve got to be in the studio to interact.”
Slacker is a “radio personality”. A gifted entertainer, he engages and motivates listeners to support his station and community. At KY102 he had the funding and managerial support that he needed to motivate the community to unite, including city-wide parades and week-long parties leading up to concerts. He was also able to share his life with his listeners more openly before Djs became restricted to 15 second soundbites. His likeable persona and honesty helped the city get to know itself and grow.
Sean Passmore aka “Chuck Taylor” was the local music director and night DJ at KLZR. Neither of those titles exist anymore. The night DJ spot is where emerging DJs honed their talent before they became great daytime music curators. The elimination of that night shift position is a key factor contributing to the death of commercial radio, as there is no training ground for the next generation. Sean left radio as so many rising stars have because their shifts are now “voice tracked” by the few remaining staff. Their potential to be influential players in the community and music scene no longer exists.
Jeriney Fulcher is a young dedicated DJ at a corporate radio rock station. In addition to her job with a morning show, she comes into the studio on Sunday nights when no one else is around to volunteer host the only local rock music show on corporate radio. This Sunday night show is a rare outlet for local musicians to be heard on air. Jeriney is living proof that there are still DJs that care about new music and a local scene.
David Lawrence worked at WDAF in Kansas City from 1973-2008. His country music audience included everyone from children to grandmas. After consolidation, he says that radio abandoned the “over-60 crowd” as the “country community” was redefined as 25-54 males. He loved the broad catalog of country music that he was free to play before consolidation. The DJs never felt burned out on the music when they were “running the table,” he says. David was a co-host of Children’s Miracle Network telethon as well as the Easter-Seal telethon on a local TV station. David hosted remote broadcasts to mobilize and unite listeners, and he and his wife Deanna personally started the “Turkey Day Radiothon” for the Salvation Army. Unfortunately his ability to use broadcasting for charity support diminished when restrictions were placed on how much he was allowed talk on-air. Like many others, he left radio because it was no longer a positive work environment.
Erich “Mancow” Muller is a syndicated radio personality. His show, “The Mancow Radio Experience”, based in Chicago plays in fifty markets. Syndicated shows have thrived amidst radio consolidation. Even so, he still does not believe that consolidation was a good thing for radio. “We’ve ruined all the spawning grounds [for new radio talent]. Where are these guys going to start? They’re going to start on small radio stations. Those have all been bought by the corporations and now it’s all computer recorded voices”. He adds that “Consolidation is ruining radio because when you own everything there is no incentive to be the best”.
Hank Booth is the former owner of KLWN and KLZR. His morning show “According to the Record” on the AM dial focuses exclusively on his home town of Lawrence Kansas. Like so many local owners, Hank takes an active role in serving the community. Because of this, he is well-known and his stations have been popular with listeners. He often quotes his father Arden Booth as saying “The one reason we exist, is to serve the people in our immediate listening area”.
Steve Wilson heard the Beatles when he was eleven years old and everything changed. He went through the motions of getting an education, culminating in a History degree at the University of Kansas. While in college he wrote for several periodicals, always about music. He continues writing and blogging about music to this day. His band, the critically acclaimed Thumbs, recorded two albums and sundry other recordings between 1977 and 1985. The Mahoots, with whom he has played and recorded since 1986 are responsible for four albums. Wilson also has a new project called the Liquor Buddies. His bread and butter has been record retail, having worked for Kief’s Music in Lawrence, Kansas since his college days. From journalist to disc jockey, from retail record guy to rocker, Wilson is preoccupied with music and his diverse background makes him a knowledgeable resource on the subject of popular music and the industry that serves and destroys it.
Robert W. McChesney is a professor of communication at the University of Illinois in Champagne Urbana. He is author of numerous books including “Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy”. He is a founding member of the media advocacy group “Free Press”.
Sue Wilson (no relation to Steve Wilson) is an investigative reporter who focuses on the media consolidation beat. She visited Minot, ND for her film “Broadcast Blues” to investigate why Clearchannel did nothing to warn it’s listeners after a train derailed resulting in a massive anhydrous ammonia leak. Her film also shows how corporate financial interests forced Phil Donahue off CNBC before the Iraq war.
John McGrath was a TV News anchor and News Photographer at FOX41 in Kansas City during the mid to late 90’s. His unique talents of both on-camera hosting and behind-camera production gave his stories an edge that became indicative of the time. Crazy angles, flash zooms, and hard-driving local music were a signature of stories that spoke to a younger audience than that of which TV news programs traditionally catered too. Because of this, McGrath’s stories carry a relevance today with viewers who remember his contribution to the identity of Kansas City.
Dan Verbeck was a commercial radio reporter for 980 KMBZ AM for 23 years. He left commercial radio for public radio station KCUR for less pay but for the ability to do longer in-depth pieces. He retired in 2014
Credits in film
Jill McKeever & Kevin McKinney
Big N Rich
Kenneth Bjørn Froholdt
Director of Photography
Jeromie P. Whalen
Peter von Ziegesar
Amanda Shaw Newsome
*San Diego Unit*
Director of Photography
Second Unit Director of Photography
Rights and Permissions
Courtesy of Channel 4 San Diego
Jewel Photos: West Kennerly
Archival KYYS Footage: Scott Sheridan
Archival KLZR Cable 6 Footage: Cody Howard
Spencer Research Library: Sherry Williams
KLZR Driver……..Cypress Frankenfeld
Baseball Kid……………..Timothy Clark
Chuck Taylor…………..Sean Passmore
Kid letter…………..….Lucy Molholland
Mom Letter……..………Kristen France
Grandma Letter…………..Cleofa Herla
Gallery Curator…………….Joy Moeller
Station Manager……….…..Hank Booth
Program Director……………..Liz Boyer
Asst. PD………………..Ethan Simmons
Music Director………….Ken Ridgeway
Asst. MD………………Kevin McKinney
Promotions Dir…………..Lisa Richman
Biker .……………………..Kenny Reed
Auctioneer……………..Jason R Roske
CD Man………………..L Rob Hubbard
Pandora Woman………Monica McAtee
Tim Dukes……..………….Andy Wegst
Mom with Check…………Amy Couture
Kid with Check……….….Kate Couture
Kid #2 w/Check……….….Leo Couture
Man on Bus……..…………Eric Carver
Man on Bus #2………..Eric Dickenson
Employee #1…………Marthe Tamblyn
Employee #2………….. Jeff Anderson
Chris Crabtree and the Pants
Jerry Del Colliano
Troy “T-Bone” Kueker
Andrew James Ownes
Vinyl Renaissance 39
Simon McKinney Stevens
The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce
The Gilbert Group
Rev. Chris Michaels
Russ Hadley for his cameo in BOW
Marr Sound Archives
Andrus & Associates Lighting
The Flaming Lips
Jason R. Roske
Sylvia Maria Gross
Love Garden Sounds
Circle S Ranch
Kemper Museum of Art
A Good Egg Film