FM Biography

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FM Radio was pioneered in San Francisco by DJ Tom Donahue at stations KMPX and, later, KSAN. It represented a conscious attempt to reject a Top 40-based playlist in favour of album-orientated acts. By the early 70s, this formula had become common and indeed, many such concerns offered as restrictive an output as their AM counterparts. Released in 1978, FM tells the fictional tale of a Los Angeles station, staffed by mavericks, who attempt to remain on air by hijacking a Linda Ronstadt concert, scheduled for their main rival. The film completely fails to question why the founding ethos of FM radio had been subverted, preferring the tiresome ‘good versus bad’ scenario that has plagued rock films from their inception. Jimmy Buffett, REO Speedwagon and Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers join Ronstadt in contributing musical interludes, while the soundtrack also features material by Steely Dan (who provided the title song), Fleetwood Mac, Boz Scaggs, Joe Walsh, Steve Miller, the Eagles, Foreigner and Foghat. Despite its plot, FM enshrines the complacency of AOR music and provides a good explanation for the rise of punk.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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