Mapleton Mail

The Little Radio Station That Could

Worst to First: The True Story of Z100 New York


Genre: Documentary
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 3m
Director(s): Mitchell Stuart
Cast: Scott Shannon, Elvis Duran, Jon Bon Jovi, Nile Rodgers, Anita Bonita, Ross Brittain, Pete Consenza, Michael Ellis, Cathy Donovan, Gary Fisher, Geraldo Rivera, Taylor Dayne, and more
Where To Watch: Available for pre-order now, releasing December 6, 2022, at Kino Lorber

RAVING REVIEW: What more can you say beyond the title? There’s much more to this story than the meteoric rise of the most successful radio station in history.

If you grew up listening to Z100, you’d love seeing this story behind them becoming the giant they are (and have been for some time.) If you have never heard of Z100 (like this critic), you’ll still love learning about this unlikely success story. It only took 74 days, but this was one of the biggest flips in radio history.

While Z100 didn’t pioneer top-40 radio, they took this idea, modernized it, and ran with it. The film features countless iconic members of music royalty, sharing their stories of what this station meant and how it changed radio forever. One of the most intriguing moments was when the first market rankings came in, and Z100 was dead last, so bad that they were outdone by stations that weren’t even in their market.

I could watch documentaries like this for days, and I love learning about stories you traditionally don’t hear about. Hearing about the ins and outs of these little pieces of history that made the pop culture landscape what it is today.

Scott Shannon is somewhat of an icon, so much so that even those outside the “know” of New York radio may still recognize the name. Shannon, the first programmer for Z100, grabbed those poor ratings and decided not to look back. My only complaint is that I wanted more to this “historical” story; I wanted to dive deeper into the station and its history. Seeing the process was fun, but when you walk away from a documentary just wanting more, I consider it a success.

- Deleted Scenes
- Audio commentary by DJ Scott Shannon and Director Mitchell Stuart
- Trailers

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[photos courtesy of KINO LORBER]