Tribeca Film Festival 2017: How Malibu Sue And Donna Donna Brought New Wave To America


In the first of our five-part series on the fearless women of the Tribeca Film Festival 2017, we talk about the women who brought New Wave to America.

Confession time: this writer got her start in the entertainment business nearly 20 years ago. It started when she was granted the opportunity to intern at WLIR-FM on Long Island, NY. One of the many people she was lucky enough to have as her mentor was Malibu Sue. She was one of the few women DJs at the station. And she was an integral part of her childhood growing up.

The reason Malibu Sue was such an icon in this writer’s mind was because she was one of the first women who served as a Marco Polo of sorts. Bringing New Wave music from Britain’s shores to the eager listeners of WLIR-FM (at one time known as WDRE-FM). Which ultimately spread across the country. U2, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, The Clash, and The Cure all owe some debt of gratitude to Malibu Sue. She helped them collectively sell more than half a billion records worldwide.

Now, the Tribeca Film Festival 2017 is honoring Malibu Sue. And her compatriot, Donna Donna, who is now over at WBAB-FM, Long Island’s premier rock station. The two are being honored with a new documentary called Dare To Be Different. Featuring a who’s who of now-infamous music superstars — including Joan Jett, Billy Idol, The B-52s, and more. The documentary talks about the drama they went through in order to get some of the greatest music in the world to the United States.

From the press release:

"“In August, 1982, a small group of radio visionaries knew they couldn’t compete with the mega-stations in New York City. With one brave decision, they changed the sound of American culture forever. Program Director Denis McNamara, the ‘LIR crew and the biggest artists of the era tell the story of how they battled the FCC, the record labels, mega-radio and all the conventional rules to create a musical movement that brought the New Wave to America.”"

Next: 20 Socially Conscious Horror Movies

Dare to be Different will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival 2017 on Friday, April 28, at 1:00 p.m. EST.