Ellen Goldfarb is the creator, producer and director of Dare To Be Different. Ellen is a major music buff and grew up listening to radio station WLIR. She experienced the format change in 1982 to “New Music” and was an avid listener and fan of the station. After the format change, like many in the greater New York area, Ellen remembers New Music WLIR becoming a central part of her life. Ellen created Dare To Be Different to document the history and energy of the amazing WLIR at its hey day in the 1980’s when it introduced New York and America to New Music and launched groups like U2, The Police and many others to greatness.
Ellen started Jomyra Productions to house Dare To Be Different and other entertainment projects. For Dare To Be Different, Ellen has already shot nearly 80 hours of interviews with leading musicians (Joan Jett, Jim Kerr/Simple Minds, Thomas Dolby, Fred Schneider/B-52’s, among many), music promoters, club owners (Michael “Eppy” Epstein/My Father’s Place), record label executives (Seymour Stein/Sire Records), WLIR jocks and executives (Denis’ McNamara, Malibu Sue, Larry the Duck and The Mighty Maximizer), and fans from the era. Ellen created an amazing sizzle reel to show the excitement that Dare To Be Different can generate.
Ellen is a born producer who is excellent at organizing, networking, creating and getting the job done. She is currently residing in Los Angeles with her husband and 2 children. Ellen comes from a family of entertainment industry folk including her brother Jay who co-wrote and starred in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Broadway in New York as well as co-wrote the film The Oranges starring Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt and Leighton Meester.
Roger Senders is producer of “Dare To Be Different” which will have its world premiere in April 2017 at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary focuses on a 1980s radio station that shunned playlists of the day and aired music from little-known bands – leading to a cult-like following of listeners and catapulting artists into successful careers. It was the first station to play many now well-known musicians.
In addition to production, logistical and financial oversight for the documentary, Senders has been in private legal practice since 2003 in Culver City, Calif., where he represents entertainment clients and provides production legal services.
He previously worked for the CBS Television Network, overseeing daytime and children’s programming. Before that, Senders spent five years working as a Directors Guild of America/Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Training Plan apprentice and as a second assistant director.
Senders grew up in a suburb of Seattle. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Oregon. While there, he worked as an extra in the classic, “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” playing a Delta House pledge. After teaching high school, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Seattle University School of Law.
Popular radio personality Denis McNamara has played an important part in music radio in Long Island influencing the careers of musicians around the world. In fact, in 2010 he was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame alongside musical luminaries such as Billy Joel, Lou Reed, John Coltrane and Harry Chapin as well as bands like Vanilla Fudge, Mountain, Twisted Sister and Kiss. Denis is an award winning programmer and a personality for Long Island stations WLIR and WDRE as well as a music company executive. He has worked with and is friends with some of the most important artists, producers and music industry folk in rock history. These include U-2, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Joan Jett and hundreds more.
In 1982, Denis McNamara was the primary reason WLIR “dared to be different” by ushering in a new wave of music. WLIR couldn’t compete with the megastations in Manhattan so McNamara urged the station’s owner, Elton Spitzer to change formats, to provide listeners with the “new music” becoming popular in Europe which was risky and cutting edge, and not available anywhere else in America at the time. Some wanted a more commercial adult contemporary sound but McNamara urged his boss to Dare To Be Different. After Spitzer accepted the challenge, McNamara led WLIR to greatness by introducing America to European groups such as U-2, The Police, The Clash, The Cure, Simple Minds and Depeche Mode and championing American artists such as Joan Jett, Talking Heads and Blondie.
In the 1990’s McNamara went on to head up international A&R at Polydor Records. He now runs NYM Inc., an Internet Radio consulting company.
Max has been in the music and entertainment business for 30 years. He started his career in 1985 as an on-air personality (“The Mighty Maximizer”) and production director at New York’s influential WLIR-FM (later, WDRE). As an avid record collector and tastemaker, he brought much of the imported music to the station. During that time he was also an active club DJ, spinning at some of the most important venues in New York City and Long Island, including the Ritz, Studio 54, the Palladium, the Limelight, Malibu, 007, and many others. In the early 90’s Max transitioned to the music video world, and as Director of Programming for companies such as Muzak, Retail Entertainment Design and MediaPlace, developed compelling entertainment programs for some of the biggest retailers in the country, including JCPenney, Radio Shack, Macy’s, Limited, Harley-Davidson and Foot Locker. Max is also a freelance TV writer and has worked on top rated shows such as Celebrity Ghost Stories and Celebrity Close Calls, both seen on the Biography Channel, as well as other reality shows currently in development. In addition, Max continues to do voiceover work for various networks and ad agencies. He lives in New York City with his wife, Marta, and two young boys, Jonah and Joshua.
Michael “Eppy” Epstein
Michael Irwin Epstein, affectionately known as “Eppy,” is regarded in the music and entertainment business as a visionary club owner and an ingenious concert booking agent. In 1971, he took an old bowling alley in Old Roslyn, NY, and turned it into the most important major concert venue of its time. His club, “My Father’s Place,” opened on Memorial Day Sunday, 1971 with Woodstock ’69 star, Richie Havens.
For 17 years the club featured the top artists of the day in rock, comedy, jazz and reggae, every week, 52 weeks a year. Artists like Bruce Springsteen, The Police, the Go-Go’s, Meatloaf, the Talking Heads and the Ramones were catapulted to national fame after first playing at “My Father’s Place.” Eppy had the brilliant insight to bring reggae acts from Jamaica to the club’s stage, springboarding names like Peter Tosh and Toots and the Maytals to recognition in America. Eppy brought the comedians, George Carlin, Robert Klein, a very young Billy Crystal, Gabe Kaplan and so many others to the club to perform. He discovered Andy Kaufman one showcase night at the club and managed Andy for several years. Since the closing of My Father’s Place in 1987, Eppy has continued to book acts at various venues on Long Island and is currently branching out to start a concert series in upstate NY, near Woodstock.
In 2009, Eppy, along with “For Darfur,” produced a series of benefit events ending in a 15,000, seat sold out concert at the Continental Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, that featured Hip Hop and Pop artists, Kanye West and Rihanna, with proceeds going to “Doctors without Borders,” and the crucial relief work they were doing in Darfur. In November of 2010, Eppy and “My Father’s Place” were inducted into the prestigious Long Island Music Hall of Fame. The award recognized the impact the club had made on the music industry and on the lives of the millions of music and comedy fans that passed through the club’s doors.