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Central Standard

Who Killed Commercial Radio?

On this Tuesday's Central Standard get to know two local filmmakers who asked, "What happened to the radio industry, and what's the cost to our communities?"

We're joined by Kevin McKinney and Jill McKeever, director and producer of the documentary Corporate FM, as well as KCUR's own General Assignment Reporter Dan Verbeck. Plus, a look at how our guests think corporate radio helps and hurts public radio.

Corporate FM is opening at Kansas City Film Fest on Friday, April 13th at 8:30pm (RSVP), as well as Saturday, April 14th at 3:30pm (RSVP). The Friday screening is at AMC Downtown and the Saturday show is at AMC Ward Parkway. There will be musical performances before each screening, and a Q&A session afterwords.

Since the film has yet to premier, here's the synopsis  --

In 1996, commercial radio underwent a quiet revolution. Local station owners everywhere sold their stations as fast as they could to conglomerate groups. The new owners gutted the staffs to compensate for the debt they created when they purchased the stations for outrageous prices. ‘Corporate FM’ is about what happens when a city loses a communal microphone. Unlike Facebook, Satellite radio, or web-based music sharing applications, locally-owned terrestrial radio can reach thousands of people across all incomes and ages in a local region at the same time with a message that is relevant to them at that moment. That ability is what once moved entire cities to unite around local bands, local charities, local businesses, and even new ideas. Our local infrastructure used to depend heavily on radio, but now there is a communication void in our cities. Radio insiders reveal the series of events that destroyed the media they loved and discuss what can be done to bring back the local owners. They uncover a financial shell game that doomed radio the moment it consolidated. Radio is free and its everywhere. It is potentially the most powerful way that we can unite a community. We need it back!