(On Cable TV, March 2019) Hey, how about a documentary focusing on telling us the story of a … radio station? Well, yes: before almost all of the radio market got swallowed in innocuous and predefined mass-market segments, there was a place for distinctive voices on-air. So it is that New Wave: Dare to be Different is the story of former Long Island radio station WLIR, which enjoyed a few years of popularity and respectability in the early 1980s by playing New Wave British music for the New York City market well before other American stations. It’s a film with many, many dozens of talking heads combined with blurry eighties-era footage, all telling the story of a rebellious radio station flouting the rules of the industry and introducing a new era of music for an influential NYC audience. In discussing the operations and influences of a long-closed radio station, New Wave is liable to make you nostalgic for an era that you never experienced first-hand (…or almost: my own experience with high-school radio was roughly congruent with the end of WLIR. But I’ve said too much already.) WLIR had its zenith in the heyday of radio, playing music, launching careers and having foreign rock bands (including U2!) over for visits and performances. Going bigger than WLIR, the documentary becomes an excuse for talking about New Wave music’s influence in America. As you can expect, the music is nothing less than terrific and its performers also contribute to the story of WLIR, with a few rousing interventions from Billy Idol. Director Ellen Goldfarb touches upon cultural, social, technological changes and their associated scenes (including fashions) linked to New Wave. It’s a documentary at its best when it delves into the fun of the station at its heyday, with DJs, fans and musicians fondly reminiscing about the time. Pair a viewing of New Wave with the fictional Pirate Radio for an evening of rebel rock radio.