Poster for Dare to be Different

Dare to be Different

Director: Ellen Goldfarb Run Time: 95 min. Format: DCP Release Year: 2017

New Wave: Dare To Be Different: How a small Long Island radio station became the “voice of a generation”

August 1982. Bands like the Ramones, the Clash, U2, the Smiths, the Cars, the Police, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Blondie, Tears For Fears, Elvis Costello, Duran Duran, and the Cure are redefining a fresh new music scene. But to the disenfranchised youth weaned on bland Top 40 and corporate rock, these artists might have escaped notice were it not for a small, independent radio station broadcasting from Long Island, NY. This was WLIR.

For a brief, but startling, five year period, this wildly influential station battled the FCC, faced financial struggles, competed with signals far stronger than theirs and faced shutdown at a moment’s notice. But none of that stopped ‘LIR from doing what no other station would or could. It spotted musical trends from Europe, discovered new and intriguing artists and was responsible for breaking many of these bands in America. ‘LIR nurtured a local club scene and created a heritage that’s since spawned hundreds of tribute sites and message boards.

Curated by a staff of like-minded and adventurous personalities, ‘LIR spoke a new language to its audience. It was the social network of its day and its fans quickly became family.