“The use of Radio as a Sound Device in Friday Night Lights”
One of the most widely noted sound elements of the football film, Friday Night Lights, amongst fans and critics is its frequent use of the Texas-based band, Explosions in the Sky. But I believe there is a more interesting sound element that is just as prominent in the overall soundscape of the film, and that is the use of radio in the film. Radio takes on the form of two identities in this film: a radio talk show as well as live game commentary. Because it is eventually revealed to the audience that both the live game commentator and radio talk show host are the same person, and that both are broadcast as radio content, it is ...view middle of the document...
Whereas more films prior to the twenty-first century may have contained similar uses of radio, the lack of it in the movies I watched led this movie to stick out as being fairly unique in its representation of radio. I only mention my specific experience because I do not wish to make a broad generalization.
First I would like to identify who the film includes on its radio broadcasts. There are essentially two types of people featured on the broadcast: the radio talk show host and his co-commentator and his callers. The first use of radio in the film is that of a radio talk show, hosted by “Slam and Sammy,” that focuses primarily on the Permian Panthers’ football team. Also featured on the show are callers that are most likely from the local community surrounding the support of the Panthers. It is not made clear until halfway through the film at the start of a football game that Slam and Sammy are also the commentators for the football games and that the games are broadcast, most likely on the same radio station. We are made aware of this fact around fifty minutes into the film when we hear, “You’re back with mojo radio. It is Slam and Sammy.” In trying to detect the difference between the announcers, the voice we hear the most seems to be the main host, while the other voice (it is slightly unclear who is Slam and who is Sammy) seems to be more of a color commentator that allows the lead announcer to do most of the talking.
Also, it is worth noting that the radio announcers do not become visually actualized in the film apart from very brief moments viewing them in the press box at the games. Otherwise the audience does not see them when they are doing their regular talk show. Because of the brief visual glimpses of the commentators and since we do not hear any programming other than talking about Permian football, the viewer may be led to believe that the hosts are local members of the Odessa community.
Radio is known to be a medium that embraces its sense of personal connection between the speaker and its viewers. Radio has this quality because listeners may feel as if the host is making a personal connection with them, they are essentially a part of a conversation without judgement, as if they were being included in the host’s conversation. This seems to be taken a step further in the movie with the frequent use of the radio host including callers in the programming to answer questions.
The word play between the host and the caller seems to create a personal relationship between the host and the community it broadcasts to. An instance of this is after one minute into the film where the host takes his first caller, addressing him by name, Butch, and also asking the caller how he is doing. Butch responds to the question and communicates his excitement to be on the show. With this being the first interaction we hear from the radio host and the callers, it sets a precedent for the personal relationship the show has with the Odessa community it...