6.3/10
720
34 user 15 critic

FM (1978)

PG | | Comedy, Drama, Music | 20 April 1978 (USA)
A mutiny ensues when a radio station's management decides to increase the number of commercials, including army recruitment ads. Rebellious DJs and other employees hijack the station and play only music before the authorities intervene.

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 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:

The movie coming at you at the speed of sound. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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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

The advertisement that was presented by the men in military uniforms was an actual advertisement for the delayed entry program which offered new recruits the opportunity to "grow your hair one more time". It was an attempt to make the Army more hip in light of the changing culture shortly after the Vietnam war. See more »

Goofs

The t-shirt Dugan after he gets out of bed early in the movie has the word "Hello" on the front but "Goodby" on the back, instead of "Goodbye". See more »

Quotes

The Mother: Don't worry, you still have me for two months because that's what my contract says.
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Soundtracks

Just The Way You Are
Written and performed by Billy Joel
Courtesy of COLUMBIA Records
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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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