The film traces how radio station WLIR helped introduce American audiences to U.K. greats.
In the 1980s, the U.K. and Europe were brewing some of the biggest names in rock music: U2, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran, to name a few. While those bands certainly blew up stateside shortly after, it wasn’t by happenstance. In fact, Americans may have never been introduced to these greats without an FM radio station based in Long Island, New York, called WLIR.
The small group of radio visionaries at WLIR — including program director Denis McNamara — are highlighted in a new documentary titled Dare to Be Different, premiering Thursday at Tribeca Film Festival. The film includes McNamara, the ‘LIR crew and some of the biggest artists of the era tell the story of how they battled the FCC, record labels, mega-radio and all the conventional rules to create a musical movement that brought the New Wave to America.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s exclusive clip of the doc features Billy Idol, Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey and The Alarm’s lead singer Mike Peters discussing WLIR and the transition of rock music from Europe to the U.S. “They were doing the same thing that the bands were doing by just being different and outrageous,” Bailey says in the clip. “They were saying, ‘Hey guys, move out the way, we’re here now.’ They were using the same kind of dynamics as the bands themselves to say, ‘It’s time for a change.'”
This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.