There must be something about a DJ’s disembodied voice that captures the imagination, whether it’s a sexy alto between songs or the growl of a talk-show loudmouth. Lately, everyone — including Hollywood — seems tuned in to radio folk. Consider befuddled dog owner Brian (Ben Chaplin), who falls for neurotic on-air veterinarian Abby (Janeane Garofalo) in The Truth About Cats & Dogs. Here are some other screen DJs who’ve faced job-related dilemmas.
Play Misty For Me Actor: Clint Eastwood. Role: Late-night ”smooth sounds” DJ Dave Garland on Carmel, Calif.’s KRML. Static: Intrigued by the sexy phone voice of a devoted caller (Jessica Walter), ladies’ man Garver gets involved in an affair that turns verrrrry ugly when he tries to disentangle himself. A-
FM Actors: Michael Brandon, Eileen Brennan, Alex Karras, Cleavon Little, Martin Mull. Roles: QSKY’s maverick program director and DJ Jeff Dugan, sultry ”earth mom” Mother, DJ-in-decline Doc Holiday, strutting hipster the Prince, and high-strung Eric Swan (whose real ambition is to host a TV game show), respectively. Static: When the super-square corporate parent of L.A.’s No. 1 rock station tries to force-feed these freethinkers a block of Army ads, the staffers barricade themselves in the studio in protest. The very similar WKRP in Cincinnati debuted the same year. B+
Good Morning, Vietnam Actor: Robin Williams. Role: Adrian Cronauer, real-life Armed Forces Radio Saigon DJ, circa 1965. Static: Fictitiously depicted as the first man in the history of the armed forces to get fan mail, he also bends Army brass out of shape with his manic monologues, political parodies, and — horrors! — rock & roll playlist. B+
Talk Radio Actor: Eric Bogosian. Role: Barry Champlain, abrasive talk-show host on Dallas’ KGAB (based on murdered radio personality Alan Berg). Static: Just as his show is about to be picked up for national syndication, Champlain goes on an unfettered on-air mean streak, with tragic results. B