Ever wonder what WMMR’s Preston and Steve are like off the air? The on-air personalities and creators of such loved events as Drunk Day and the Cardboard Classic are actually “really down to earth,” said filmmaker Sean McKnight.
McKnight, a Ridley Park-based filmmaker and former on-air personality himself, spent a year following the comedy duo’s hijinks and the extent of their fans’ unusual devotion. His documentary, Undivided: The Preston And Steve Experience, will show at the Media Film Festival on Thursday, Feb. 23.
“I’m a big fan, and I thought it would be fun to go behind the scenes,” McKnight explained. “Preston and Steve have such a strong local following that I thought a lot of people would be interested in seeing how they operate.”
So McKnight sent an email to Preston, and the email was forwarded to WMMR producer Chuck D’Amico. D’Amico was intrigued by the pitch, and invited McKnight to the studio to meet with the crew, who gave the idea a thumbs up.
The shoot was set up as “a fly-on-the-wall experience.” McKnight filmed the Morning Show crew in-studio, and at events like the Cardboard Classic—in which Preston and Steve fans race cardboard-and-duck-tape creations down Jack Frost Big Boulder—as well as more serious events, like the annual Camp Out For Hunger.
Over a thousand people participated in 2011’s “I Bleed For Preston And Steve” blood drive, and 2011’s Camp Out For Hunger raised more than $75,000.
“One thing unusual about Preston and Steve is their public outreach,” McKnight said. “They have a really interesting connection between the show and fans, and … charitable work and events that are fun and silly at same time.”
There’s a huge fan base to draw on for participation in those events: a fan base so devoted that some fans—probably more than you would think—have publicly declared their allegiance to Preston and Steve on their bodies, permanently, for the world to see.
“Tattoosday," a phenomenon that McKnight documents in his film, signifies that Preston and Steve are more than just a funny radio show.
“On the fan side of things, especially with the tattoo story—there's a real human story behind that," McKnight said. "… If people willing to get tattoos honoring Preston and Steve, that's an important statement to make that transcends just the radio show.”
Preston and Steve’s whole crew is “fun—they're really nice, down to earth, but they definitely turn on a bit more when they’re on air,” McKnight said. “… Who you hear on-air is who they are off-air, but it's a little more punctuated. They were very accommodating, nice, gracious people … And it was a blast to follow them around and capture their hijinks around the studio.”
Undivided: The Preston And Steve Experience shows Thursday night, Feb. 23, as the opening film on the first night of Media's three-day film festival. The festival will be held at the Media Community Center, 3rd St. and Monroe, in Media. (You can view the trailer online but, be warned: it's not really workplace appropriate.)
The films, which range in length from three minutes to 90 minutes, generally run back-to-back, so viewers are encouraged to come for the whole evening, which runs from 7 to 10:30 p.m.
Admission is $10 per evening, or $20 for a three-night pass (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). For more information on the film line-up, or to buy tickets online, visit the Media Film Festival website.