6.4/10
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36 user 26 critic

FM (1978)

PG | | Comedy, Drama, Music | 20 April 1978 (USA)
Trailer
2:52 | Trailer
When a liberal music station's owners decide to introduce army recruitment ads, despite the protests of its manager, the rebellious DJs are determined to fight back, no matter the cost.

Director:

John A. Alonzo

Writer:

Ezra Sacks
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Brandon ... Jeff Dugan
Eileen Brennan ... Mother
Alex Karras ... Doc Holiday
Cleavon Little ... Prince
Martin Mull ... Eric Swan
Cassie Yates ... Laura Coe
Norman Lloyd ... Carl Billings
Jay Fenichel ... Bobby Douglas
James Keach ... Lt. Reach
Joe Smith ... Albert Driscoll
Tom Tarpey Tom Tarpey ... Regis Lamar
Janet Brandt Janet Brandt ... Alice
Mary Torrey Mary Torrey ... Cathy
Roberta Wallach ... Shari Smith
Terry Jastrow ... Michael J. Carlyle
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Storyline

Q-SKY is the #1 radio station in Los Angeles mainly because of the music they play, and running the station the way they want to. It has led them to a ratings success. The interesting radio personalities include: Jeff Dugan, rebellious head of the radio station; Mother, who is burned out from being a DJ; Eric Swan, a self centered romantic who wants more than just being a DJ; The Prince of Darkness, the hip night DJ; and Laura Coe, the easy-going type. The movie focuses on the battle between Jeff and his corporate bosses, who want more advertising and less music. Written by Pat McCurry <ccgrad97@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No Static At All! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fiebre musical See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Much of the plot of the movie is about the management of the station resisting the push to change to stations format to include more commercials than music. Tom Petty, who has a cameo in this film, fought his own battle against his recorded label over the album "Hard Promises". The album had been given the superstar price of $9.89, versus $8.98. Petty balked at the change, threatening to hold up the album's release. Much like the characters in this film, this stand won Petty a loyal fanbase standing behind him in support. See more »

Goofs

When Dolores Deluxe exits her corvette, there is a man (perhaps not an extra) who stares at her as she enters the building. He actually briefly stops to watch the entire scene be filmed. See more »

Quotes

Eric Swan: What the hell are you doing in here?
Regis Lamar: I'm Regis Lamar, from Chicago.
Eric Swan: Hell! I don't give a shit if you're the Messiah from Jerusalem come here to make my life perfect! Nobody walks in this booth when I am making my art. Nobody!
Regis Lamar: [quietly] Sorry.
Eric Swan: Jesus Christ!
[chuckles]
Eric Swan: Jesus Christ.
See more »

Soundtracks

Love Me Tender
Written by Vera Matson and Elvis Presley
Performed by Linda Ronstadt
Courtesy of Asylum Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Turn Your Radio On
20 May 2005 | by virek213See all my reviews

It may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but the 1978 movie FM has something going for it as, admittedly in its dated late 1970s way, it somehow foresaw the corporate turn that the radio media would take in years to come. And it does so with a wall-to-wall soundtrack of late 70s Top 40 memories that now fall under the rubric of Classic Rock. In essence, this is the classic rock response to the disco onslaught of Saturday NIGHT FEVER.

Michael Brandon is Jeff Dugan, the program director at QSKY radio in Los Angeles who oversees an on-air staff of wild and crazy disc jockeys (Alex Karras; Cleavon Little; Eileen Brennan; Cassie Yates; Martin Mull) that, through playing what the L.A. populace wants to hear and with limited commercial interruptions, has made the radio station Number One in the second largest media market in the nation. Things seem to be looking up, until "the boys upstairs" decide how much better things could be if more commercials were aired between blasts of Steely Dan, Queen, and Boston. Naturally, this doesn't sit well with Dugan and his merry band, but the top brass envision QSKY just becoming one big infomercial. This, however, leads to an insane backlash from the QSKY staff and, eventually, a takeover of the station that nearly results in rioting on the streets.

This is definitely pretty thin stuff for a film that was allegedly the inspiration for CBS-TV's fine sitcom "WKRP In Cincinnati" (though the pilot of that series was being filmed at the same time FM was being filmed, so the resemblance is only coincidental). But while this film is no NETWORK, in terms of films that attack the decay of the media, FM still works in getting its situations across. Maybe the idea that a radio station's staff would rail against corporate interference sounds a bit daft, but the notion that a big conglomerate (Clear Channel, for example) would turn a radio station into one big box in which the music is only the filler between attempts to part listeners from their hard-earned money isn't so easy to laugh at anymore.

FM has a lot going for it. For one, it was the only feature film directed by John A. Alonzo, one of Hollywood's premiere cinematographers; his credits include CHINATOWN, BLACK Sunday, SCARFACE, and parts of Steven Spielberg's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. And for another, that wall-to-wall soundtrack of what we now call classic rock is enhanced by actual concert footage of Jimmy Buffett and Linda Ronstadt. Buffett's performance of "Livingston Saturday Night" reminds one of what he was decades before his Margaritaville was hijacked by Nashville pretenders like Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith. And Linda, normally a very stage-shy performer, asserts herself boldly on searing renditions of "Tumbling Dice" and "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me", then pays a heartfelt tribute to Elvis by doing the King's 1956 classic "Love Me Tender."

I can't help but give FM a rating of "7" because it reminds one of what the radio was like before corporate interference and MTV began to slowly corrupt and destroy it, and because it is an interesting time capsule of life in Los Angeles at the end of the 1970s.


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