In 1963, one man radically transformed the FM dial. Radio Unnameable tells the story of the groundbreaking New York disc jockey Bob Fass and his innovative use of the airwaves to inform, entertain and encourage dialogue amongst listeners. His program is entirely free form, there’s no telling what might happen next. It is a place to hear great music, conversations with artists and activists, audio experiments, and where the average listener can discuss local and international issues, from problems with landlords in the Bronx to the war in Afghanistan. Bob Fass is still on the air today, approaching 50 years behind the microphone, and he remains as vital and current as ever. The listeners of Radio Unnameable are active participants and the lifeblood of the program. Fass worked closely with them, utilizing the airwaves as an organizing tool. He provided a forum for luminaries and ordinary listeners to talk openly and mobilize. The listeners were ‘citizen reporters’ and on Radio Unnameable, every voice is heard.
The biggest challenge at the onset was how do we make a film about radio visual. For the most part, listening to the radio is an extremely personal activity. So we wanted emulate that and to treat the visual elements in a visceral fashion, rather than being literal in depicting on the screen what we are hearing on the air. We utilized a wide variety of source material, trying to stay true to the formats used in each time period… Rather than relying on stock houses, we searched out individual filmmakers and photographers, both working professionals and average listeners, who shot their own material over the years. For the present day, we spent many nights driving around the city with our cinematographer John Pirozzi, exploring neighborhoods and capturing our own perspective.
Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson, Co-directors
Recommended rating: cert 15.