Screen Shots

Over at the  I Am What I Play Facebook page, we have been posting screen shots from the film on a regular basis.   If you’re on Facebook, be sure and like the page for updates on the movie.  We will continue to update this blog but the Facebook page has more up to the minute action:

Having said that, here are a few screen shots from the film:


Charles Laquidara in a 1970’s TV commercial for his morning radio show, The Big Mattress.

Meg Griffin in the WNEW studios in New York City, late 1970’s.

David Marsden being inducted into the Canadian Music and Radio Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2011.

Newspaper ad for Pat O’Day’s radio show in the late 60’s.

Radio Stuff podcast

Larry Gifford is a U.S. radio guru/consultant and he hosts a podcast about radio called Radio Stuff. I joined him on the podcast recently to talk about the film.  Click on the link below to listen.  The interview starts at the 13:00 minute mark:

In addition to reading this blog, the best way to keep up-to-date on the film is to join us on Facebook and like the page:

Testing, Testing

In February, we completed two test screenings of the film.  Intimate locations – the screening room of a post-production facility.  About 15 people in attendance each night.  I served wine.  I know it’s rock radio so an Australian Merlot doesn’t immediately come to mind but I’m just trying to add a touch of class to the proceedings. (Editor note:  I even took a picture of the wine and glasses but my picture upload is not cooperating!).

Needless to say, it was a thrill to sit and watch the finished product with a live audience.  Now I knew almost everyone at both screenings but it was still a nice mix of a few radio/voice over types, a few old friends, a couple of people who worked on the film and even a couple of strangers who have nothing to do with radio, TV or film.  The feedback was universally positive – people really seemed to love the film.   And I do have friends and colleagues who can dish out the constructive criticism when it’s warranted.

In this case, it was mostly constructive praise.  Criticism was mainly of the “tweaking” variety.  I gave them all a questionnaire to fill out at the end.  Some comments:

You meted out the story telling with each character in such a way as to make the point on that portion and move on to the next. I thought your timing was excellent.

” Well produced!!  Very interesting subject matter, a great range of music, and visually compelling. ”

“The best film about radio I’ve ever seen.”

I was looking for any obvious holes or segments that didn’t work or make sense.  There was very little of that so here we go:  I have begun the outreach to broadcasters and distributors.  Another journey has begun.  I am trying to avoid the pounding the pavement on the film festival circuit, though Friday was the deadline for submitting to the Toronto International Film Festival and I dropped it off in person.   Updates to follow!


Radio Survivor piece on I Am What I Play

Matthew Lasar has a nice piece on the Radio Survivor website about the film.   Have a look:

“I Am What I Play”: Documenting the Rock DJ

The Spirit of Radio

Since we started shooting the film, I have obviously been posting here and there on this blog, at least trying to capture bits and pieces of the process.  Now that we are finished the rough cut – the editor, post-production supervisor and I finally watched it on a big screen last week and it looks good (whew!) – I plan to update this space more frequently and I realize to this point, I haven’t talked about why I made this film.

I graduated from University just over 20 years ago.  One day I skipped an early morning history class because the local rock radio station was going to play the new Robert Plant single for the first time.  Being a die-hard Led Zeppelin/Plant fan, I had to hear it now.  And my only option for doing so was to tune into this one radio station at the exact right time.  I simply had to cut class.

This likely seems absurd to people born in the year I graduated.  Not the skipping class part but having so few options for accessing new music.  This was part of the excitement and power of rock radio.  I think mine is the last generation that understands that, or has any real connection to radio.  Might be the last generation that even owns a radio!

I see lots of blogs and hear lots of podcasts about what’s wrong with radio now – why this connection to younger generations has been lost.  And I know the standard line is to blame corporations.  While it’s true that many corporations have tried to control the message and the music, I think where radio sits today is the result of a number of factors besides just the present-day radio execs not understanding the charm of the psychedelic era.

I prefer to focus on what was right with radio when it did have a hold on generations of listeners.  It’s the job of those of us who were moved by the medium to pass that torch – to sing the praises of the originals still doing their thing (and they’re still out there, if you’re paying attention), to take note of ways in which “the spirit of radio” is still alive and well – or could be – and to bend the ears of younger generations without sounding bitter or out of touch.

I try to capture “the spirit” when I talk about how much time I spent with rock radio.  Those DJ’s were the ambassadors.  They didn’t just play the records. They gave me an entry into the world of that band and they lived the music.  They drew links between bands, between songs, between what might be said in a song and what you might do in the real world:  politically, sexually, culturally…or just whatever on a Saturday night.

There was no quicker way to connect to the public than through radio.  DJ’s could move music, and occasionally public opinion.  I just loved hearing intelligent voices discussing the bands I love – and spinning stories about the music and what they did after the show.  A talented DJ would spin an evening for me – it was an event.  “It was never a shift, it was a show.”

Their identities were wrapped up in the music they played.  With few exceptions, there is no way a top radio jock would put a record on the air that he/she didn’t believe in. Which is why I’ve always liked the David Bowie line from his song DJ:  “I Am a DJ – I am what I play.”   And in the spirit of that lyric, I decided to make a film.

Cross Talk

Got back into the swing of shooting in 2012 as we had a great interview with Alan Cross last week at his home.  Alan spent 25 years on-air at CFNY and is perhaps best known for hosting over 700 episodes of the series, The Ongoing History of New Music.  Alan was possibly the last person hired by David Marsden before leaving CFNY and he had some great stories for the film about what it’s like to work with, and for, The Mars Bar!

Alan has posted a short piece about our interview here:

Producer/Director Roger King takes in the action as Alan Cross gets “Schmoozed” (the dog’s name is Schmooze).