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Filmmaker Kevin McKinney tries again to kickstart 'Corporate FM' film, tracing changes in radio, fall of KLZR

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Kansas City filmmaker Kevin McKinney's documentary "Corporate FM" won over moviegoers who caught the film at the Lawrence Arts Center in May. The film explores the corporate takeover of local radio stations that began with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and led to the homogenization of local radio.

McKinney, a KU grad, uses the example of KLZR, the erstwhile Lazer (now KISS FM), as a poster child for all that's wrong with Big Radio. Interviews with former owner Hank Booth (who expresses remorse for selling that station), former DJs and folks embedded in the bustling Lawrence music scene of the 1990s create a somber scene.

McKinney argues that the lack of diverse, locally owned radio stations leads to cracks in the community (for instance, a syndicated radio show out of Miami can't tell you about a fundraising drive for a cancer-stricken child or that traffic on I-70 is backed up.). The film takes the stance that the plight of local radio represents everything that's wrong with the corporate influence on government and society. Basically, it's all about money.

So McKinney is taking another shot at a Kickstarter campaign to get the film in more independent theaters and college campuses (college kids listen to radio, right?). In June, McKinney tried to raise $20,000 for distribution costs, but that proved impossible. Now he's back with a smaller goal of $7,200.

With four days to go, he's almost there. So far, 75 backers have pledged more than $5,000.

Kickstarter, if you're not aware, allows artists and others seeking funding for projects to raise money through pledged donations. Those donations are put in escrow until the fundraising goal is met. If it is not met, the pledged donations are nullified.

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