This article relies excessively on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. Find sources: "Radio Rebel" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (June 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Radio Rebel
Film poster
GenreTeen drama
Based onShrinking Violet
by Danielle Joseph
Written by
Directed byPeter Howitt
Theme music composerJames Jandrisch
Country of origin
  • United States
  • Canada
Original languageEnglish
Production locationVancouver, Canada
CinematographyKamal Derkaoui
EditorRichard Schwadel
Running time85 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseFebruary 17, 2012 (2012-02-17)

Radio Rebel is a 2012 teen drama television film directed by Peter Howitt, written by Erik Patterson and Jessica Scott, based on the novel Shrinking Violet. Produced by MarVista Entertainment and Two 4 Money Media, in association with YTV and Disney Channel. It stars Debby Ryan, Merritt Patterson, Adam DiMarco, Sarena Parmar and Nancy Robertson. The film follows a shy girl (Ryan) who goes undercover with a radio persona that allows her to express her true feelings. Her identity is put at risk when her school principal (Robertson) threatens to expel the young girl following a life of mischief.

Radio Rebel premiered on Disney Channel in the United States on February 17, 2012 and YTV in Canada on March 9, 2012.


Tara Adams is a shy, awkward teenager who attends Lincoln Bay High and secretly operates as Seattle's most popular radio DJ, "Radio Rebel", unbeknownst to her friends Audrey, Larry, and Barry. Tara's crush Gavin and his friend Gabe make up a band called The G's, and hope to perform at prom.

Tara's stepfather Rob, who runs the radio station SlamFM, asks Tara about Radio Rebel in an attempt to bonding with her. Tara's identity as Radio Rebel is subsequently revealed to him and her mother Delilah. When Rob invites her to host her podcast at SlamFM. Tara has doubts about her job at SlamFM, but is inspired by another radio host, DJ Cami Q, whom she befriends. Audrey and Tara's friendship becomes strained as Tara has to continually decline invitations to hang out; Tara eventually reveals her identity to Audrey.

Gavin leaves a copy of his band's demos in the drama room, which Tara takes and plays on her next show, encouraging the student body to start spontaneously dancing to release any pent-up emotions. However, Principal Moreno threatens to expel anyone caught listening to Radio Rebel. Cami Q shows up at school with a recording of Radio Rebel stating that she is taking back the music that Moreno took away, resulting in Moreno expelling students that withhold information regarding Rebel's identity. Eventually, Radio Rebel is nominated for Prom Queen; Tara refuses to accept the crown, wanting to preserve her anonymity.

When Tara does not reveal herself to Moreno, Moreno cancels the prom, sparking protests occurring outside of SlamFM. With Cami's help, Tara and Audrey sneak inside and persuade listeners to express their true feelings. After a montage of hateful reviews, the next day, Tara announces her plans to hold a "Morp" (prom spelled backwards) in retaliation of the prom's cancellation. Tara's rival Stacy begins to suspect that Tara is Radio Rebel, and holds a house party at the same time as Radio Rebel's next podcast. Tara attends while Delilah and Cami hold the podcast using voice recordings. Stacy's personal assistant Kim manages to infiltrate SlamFM and obtain evidence that Tara is Radio Rebel.

At school, Gavin quits The G's, fed up with Gabe's superficial and egotistical personality. Stacy locks Tara in the janitor's closet and threatens to release Kim's recording to the school. Tara agrees to sponsor Stacy's campaign in exchange for her secret being kept. Gavin finds out about this and rebuffs Stacy's invitation to the Morp.

On the day of the Morp, Moreno keeps an eye out for Radio Rebel as Cami announces the prom queen. When Radio Rebel is granted the title, Tara overcomes her fears and reveals herself as Radio Rebel. When Moreno announces she is expelling Tara, more students come forward and declare that they are also Radio Rebel. Unable to expel the entire student body for supporting Tara, Moreno reluctantly storms off in defeat. Tara hands Stacy the crown, leading them to end their rivalry. Gavin performs a song dedicated to Tara before dancing with her.



The film was shot in Canada, with principal photography taking place during the summer of 2011 in Vancouver. The scenes in the school, and some scenes at SlamFM, were filmed at Meadowridge Independent School in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. The script was written by Erik Patterson and Jessica Scott. Michael Jacobs, Robyn Snyder and MarVista CEO Fernando Szew executive produced the film with Kim Arnott and Oliver De Caigny. Szew explained: "We are confident that 'Radio Rebel' features the same elements that made our first production a huge success including a tight, fast-paced and comedic script and an all-around talented cast, plus several original songs that will be sure to delight teens across the globe."[2]

Debby Ryan recorded two songs to promote the film: a cover of The Go-Go's "We Got the Beat" and a collaboration with Chase Ryan and Chad Hively called "We Ended Right".

Some elements were changed from the original novel, including Teresa being renamed Tara and her radio personality being changed from Sweet T to Radio Rebel.[citation needed]


The film was accompanied by a week-long lineup called We Got the Beat Week consisting of new music videos and music-themed Disney Channel series and films.


Radio Rebel
(Original Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedFebruary 21, 2012 (2012-02-21)[3]
RecordedJanuary– February 2012
GenrePop rock
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerVarious artists

The Radio Rebel soundtrack album was released on February 21, 2012 by Walt Disney Records.[4]

Track listing

Radio Rebel – Standard edition
1."We Got the Beat"Debby Ryan2:22
2."Can't Stop The Rock"The Barrymores2:34
3."Afterthought"The Whereabouts2:50
4."Turn It All Around"The GGGG's2:46
5."We so Fly"The GGGG's2:44
6."Brand New Day"Kari Kimmel2:37
7."Backing Off"Champion2:53
8."We Ended Right" (feat. Chad Hively and Chase Ryan)Debby Ryan4:06
9."No Advances"Two Hours Traffic3:18
10."Like You Love Her"Fat Sue3:48
11."Now I Can Be The Real Me"The GGGG's3:18
12."Touch The Ground" (feat. Maylee Todd)Central Park1:58
13."My Revolution"Above Envy2:37
14."A Wish Comes True Everyday"Debby Ryan3:11
15."Your Ex Lover Is Dead"Stars4:16
Total length:47:17


The film earned 4.3 million viewers on its premiere night.[5]


The film aired on Disney Channel in the United States on February 17, 2012.[6] It premiered on March 9, 2012 in Canada on YTV,[7] on June 1, 2012 on Disney Channel UK and Ireland,[8] on June 17, 2012 on Disney Channel Asia, on July 6, 2012 on Disney Channel Australia, and on June 16, 2013 on Disney Channel South Africa.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Popular Young Actress Debby Ryan Stars in "Radio Rebel," A Disney Channel Original Movie Premiering Friday, February 17". Press release from Disney Channel via the Futon Critic. January 18, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  2. ^ "Debby Ryan's profile rises at Disney Channel". Variety. August 25, 2011. Archived from the original on April 9, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  3. ^ "Radio Rebel (Original Soundtrack)". iTunes. February 21, 2012. Archived from the original on September 28, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  4. ^ "Radio Rebel Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 4, 2023. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  5. ^ "Disney Channel Original Movie "Radio Rebel" Rocks With 4.3 Million Total Viewers" (Press release). Disney Channel. February 21, 2012. Retrieved 2016-08-13 – via The Futon Critic.
  6. ^ "Exclusive: See Jessie's Debby Ryan Become a Radio Rebel". TV Guide. January 18, 2012. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  7. ^ Radio Rebel YTV Premiere! on YouTube
  8. ^ "Radio Rebel on tonight". Big Family Organised Chaos. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.

Further reading