Third in a series
Going into Friday evening’s first Los Angeles showing of the film “Dare to be Different” at the Regal Theatre at L.A. Live, the reason for the curious
disappearance of the Long Island radio station at the heart of the film remains “a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma.”
Winston Churchill’s memorable 1939 observation of the Russians applies to the government-inspired (?) vanquishment of 3,000-watt WLIR on Long Island in 1987.
Was it because supposedly little-noticed WLIR embarrassed heavyweight radio rivals by introducing to America and strongly profiting from New Wave rock music?
Or could the shutdown be traced to a more mundane cause?
“Dare to be Different” explores.
Roger Senders, one of the producers along with director-producer-creator Ellen Goldfarb, says that “certainly issues of finance were involved. WLIR had become extremely lucrative.
“Interestingly, at its nub,” says the Culver City attorney, “the man who challenged the renewal of the FCC license was just ticked off at the owners (in the1970s, before WLIR’s popularity rocketed with its New Wave revolution). He had a one-hour weekly commentary on the air. He delivered his tape to the station, and then WLIR would return it to him afterward.
“At this point the station was working on a thread financially. They did not always return the tapes as promptly as the man would have liked,” Mr. Senders said.
“There is some suggestion there may have been political assistance to this man because he was not wealthy, and challenging a radio license is not inexpensive.”
Here is where the thickly veiled deed becomes even more controversial. The plot not only will sound familiar but as contemporary and fresh as this evening’s dinner.
“WLIR had a liberal political bent,” said Mr. Senders.
“I have not found proof, but I certainly have heard it often that some of the more conservative people who have power on Long Island were not happy with the radio station. They were looking to remove the thorn in their side and replace it with a different voice.”
How ironically fascinating that while WLIR rode the crest of its own created New Wave music revolution to profitable fame in the ‘80s, sadly, perhaps even tragically, it was permanently grounded by politics in 1987.