Broadcast of award-winning film festival hit and release of companion book on how a radio station defined politics, counterculture and rock and roll.

October 7, 2021 [Boston, MA] — Film festival sensation WBCN and The American Revolution is coming to a national audience. The popular rock documentary will air on PBS World on Friday, November 19 at 8 p.m. EST and Saturday, November 20 at 1 a.m., 9 a.m., and 3 p.m. EST. The film will also be re-broadcast on public television stations around the country throughout the fall and winter (check local listings).

In addition, a companion book published by MIT Press/Penguin Random House, WBCN and the American Revolution: How a Radio Station Defined Politics, Counterculture and Rock and Roll will be released on Tuesday, November 23.

“Two years ago, WBCN and The American Revolution launched an exhilarating tour of film festivals and screenings across the United States. Audiences were uplifted and inspired by the story of how an underground rock radio station and a passionate community of listeners mobilized to change their world for the better,” says Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and former WBCN announcer Bill Lichtenstein, who also authored the film’s companion book. “Now, as we grapple with all of challenges of today’s world, I’m thrilled to bring WBCN’s empowering and hopeful message to a national audience.”

A high-energy feature-length documentary, WBCN and The American Revolution follows a dynamic cast of characters as their lives connect and intersect during the rise of the legendary radio station that became both a player in and a platform for the explosive rock ‘n roll counterculture, passionate anti-war movement, and burgeoning civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights movements.

The dramatic and compelling stories in WBCN and The American Revolution are interwoven with the original sights and sounds of the critical events of the late 1960s and early 1970s, thanks to more than 100,000 audio and visual items, many of which were shared with the project by members of the WBCN community and the station’s many listeners and fans.  The material includes never before exhibited film shot by Andy Warhol and cinema vérité pioneer Ricky Leacock, images from notable photographers including the late Peter Simon, brother of singer Carly Simon, and Jeff Albertson, as well as aircheck audio from memorable on-air, in-studio moments. 

The film includes fresh first-person accounts from the station’s staff, as well as both newly filmed and archival material featuring leading political, social, cultural and musical figures of the day, including Noam Chomsky, Jane Fonda, David Bowie, Jerry Garcia, Abbie Hoffman, Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, in his first radio interview, and Patti Smith, performing with her band in her first live radio broadcast.   

Lichtenstein began working at the station as a volunteer on the WBCN Listener Line at age 14 in 1970, and later as a newscaster and announcer with his own program.  His last film, West 47th Street, won the Special Jury Award for Documentary Film at the 2001 Atlanta Film Festival; Audience Award for Best Long Form Documentary at the 2002 DC Independent Film Festival; and Honorable Mention at the 2002 Woodstock Film Festival. It aired on PBS’s P.O.V. and was called “must see” by Newsweek and “remarkable” by the Washington Post

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For more information about WBCN and The American Revolution, contact:

Chris Kelly, Fifth House Public Relations, at 617/510-2333 or ckelly@fifthhousepr.com

About WBCN and The American Revolution

The amazing, untold story of the radical underground radio station WBCN-FM, set against the dazzling and profound social, political, and cultural changes that took place in Boston and nationally during the late-1960s and early-70s. Told through the actual sights, sounds, and stories of a compelling cast of characters who connected through the radio station, exploding music and countercultural scenes, militant anti-war activism, civil rights struggles, and the emerging women’s and LGBTQ-liberation movements.

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