Pump up the Volume - 2013 style

Geeky unknown guy with a secret radio show run out of his basement…

1990 - drama! police! Pump up the Volume!

2013 - podcast

Since the creation of radio, people have wanted to share their stories and their thoughts with the world.  This is why almost immediately after the creation of radio came the creation of laws governing radio. So then something else new came along - pirate radio.

Pump up the Volume

Pump up the Volume was released in 1990 when I was a teenager. Teenage Lara may have had a bit of a crush on Christian Slater, making this movie more significant in my life than in others. So, in case you don’t know, here’s what the movie was about:

Mark Hunter (Slater), a high school student in a sleepy suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, starts an FM pirate radio station that broadcasts from his bedroom transmitter in the basement of his parents’ house. 

Nobody knows the true identity of “Hard Harry” or “Happy Harry Hard-on,” as Mark refers to himself, until Nora Diniro (Mathis), a fellow student, tracks him down and confronts him the day after a student named Malcolm commits suicide after Harry attempts to reason with him. The radio show becomes increasingly popular and influential after Harry confronts the suicide head-on, exhorting his listeners to do something about their problems instead of surrendering to them through suicide.

Eventually, the radio show causes so much trouble in the community that the FCC is called in to investigate.  Big drama, driving around town with mobile radio show so FCC can’t triangulate him.  Goes to jail for the better good of the world but inspires thousands of kids to start their own radio shows and talking about things people have been afraid to talk about.

The other day as I was doing something else and my mind was wandering; this movie suddenly popped into my head and it dawned on me.  Hard Harry would simply have had a podcast. Roll credits.

We no longer need to break the law and have all kinds of crazy equipment. While far less dramatically cinematic, the beauty of how far we’ve come is that we now all have the power to share our thoughts with the world with nothing more than a computer.

We also have access to the thoughts of all the people who have already started podcasts - and we don’t even need to live within a couple of miles of the person transmitting the show.


When I first envisioned this post in my head I thought the conclusion would be that a Pump up the Volume reboot would be an even bigger snoozer than apparently the first movie was (clearly not everyone was a big Christian Slater fan ;). Now I’m thinking a reboot could be fun.

A rogue podcast, bringing people from around the world together to solve international mysteries and crime until the CIA and Interpol have to get involved.  Then our elusive podcaster needs to rollerblade around Manhattan with his laptop in his bag looking for a telephone booth to hook up to…. no wait, now I’ve switched to Hackers. Again, clearly dating myself for you all :) 

The real conclusion is there are podcasts for everyone and I highly encourage you to listen to some and even contemplate what you could start your own on. There are so many important things people have to share with the world.

Leave a comment and tell me what your favourite podcast is or what you would podcast about!