Mike McGuff Talks About His Documentary ‘Runaway Radio’

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Mike McGuff Talks About His Documentary ‘Runaway Radio‘ focusing on Houston’s 101 KLOL evolution from groundbreaking station in the 1970s.

Runaway Radio‘ is a documentary with a runtime of just 83 minutes that explores the impact of radio in the pre-digital age, emphasizing the influence of Houston’s 101 KLOL. The film features insights from renowned musicians like Lyle Lovett and Melissa Etheridge, as well as top radio DJs across the United States. It traces the station’s evolution from a progressive radio station in 1970 to one of several Album Oriented Rock (AOR) stations nationwide. The documentary highlights the era when on-air personalities sometimes overshadowed the music itself. Ultimately, the demise of 101 KLOL and the AOR format in the 2000s is attributed to changes and pressures from Washington, the music industry, and Silicon Valley. The director, Mike McGuff, a native Houstonian and former journalist, brings a personal connection to the subject, having grown up with KLOL. McGuff’s background includes a successful career in Texas and Houston television news, with recognition from Lone Star Emmy Awards and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. He is also known as a Texas media blogger, acknowledged nationally for his work. The documentary is distributed by Dark Star Pictures.

Official Synopsis:

In the pre-digital age, radio entertained, informed and dictated what was cool through theater of the mind. Acclaimed musicians such as Lyle Lovett, ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill, Melissa Etheridge and Sammy Hagar along with top radio DJs from across the US reflect on how the medium changed their lives and the lives of devoted listeners. “Runaway Radio” focuses on Houston’s 101 KLOL – starting in 1970 as a progressive radio station, where DJs played whatever they wanted, to how it evolved into one of several wild Album Oriented Rock (AOR) stations across the country, where on air personalities were sometimes bigger than the music itself! But in the end, changes and pressures from Washington, the music industry and Silicon Valley led to the station’s, and much of the format’s, demise in the 2000s.

Director Mike McGuff, a native Houstonian, grew up with KLOL before moving into the world of Texas and Houston television news as a reporter, anchor and producer. During his journalism career, McGuff won two Lone Star Emmy Awards and was nominated for five. He was also honored by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters in its journalist award competition. He most recently reported live for UK television network ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” with Piers Morgan during Hurricane Harvey’s destructive landing in Houston. His reporting work has also been featured on CNN International. In the digital world, McGuff is nationally known as a Texas media blogger whose work as been mentioned by NBC News and the UK Daily Mail.

Producer Jeffrey Brown has produced a number of award-winning narrative features and documentaries in Europe, Africa, Asia& N. America, specializing in music docs. Brown was recently a producer on, among other: Nothing Stays The Same: The Story of the Saxon Pub (Music Doc Prize–SXSW 2019),Every Night’s A Saturday Night: The Bobby Keys Story on the Rolling Stones’ legendary saxman (AXS TV), Honky Tonk Heaven: The Legend of the Broken Spoke(Music Doc Prize–SXSW 2016), No No: A Dockumentary (Sundance 2014)Punk in Africa(Rotterdam, New York FF, Rio IFF).Brown has producedover35 films, screened in 100 festivals worldwide.

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