Joe Frank radio programs are comprised of four series. The different series chronologically reflect Joe’s evolving aesthetic with an emphasis on dramas in the early years and highly personal conversations later. Joe’s trademark monologues continue throughout his work.
Joe Frank began his radio career as a volunteer at Pacifica Network station WBAI in New York in the late 1970s. He experimented with live freeform radio with monologues, improvisations, and music during late night hours. It was during this period that he met and established collaborative relationships with Arthur Miller, David Rapkin and Tim Jerome, who appear in many of Joe’s dramas. The show’s bizarre and original vision quickly drew increasingly larger audiences.
In 1978, Joe moved to Washington DC where he wrote, performed in, and produced 18 dramas for NPR Playhouse which won several major broadcasting awards.
At the invitation of KCRW, in 1986 Joe moved to Santa Monica, California and began producing one-hour radio programs for what would become the first of four signature radio series: Joe Frank: Work in Progress, for which Frank received a Peabody Award. The second series was In the Dark followed by Somewhere Out There and finally, The Other Side.
In 2003, Joe began producing shows exclusively for his web site which are currently streamed online for Premium Members.
Addressing timeless subjects and questions, Joe Frank’s radio shows are as relevant today as when they were originally produced.
From the beginning, Frank’s view of life has been informed by tragedy. Many members of his family were imprisoned and murdered by the Nazis, while his own parents narrowly escaped to America before the outset of World War II. Growing up in Manhattan, Joe Frank’s childhood was marked by a crippling disability and the lingering illness and death of his father when Frank was five. Later, after harrowing treatments, Frank survived stage 4 cancer twice over the course of 30 years. These experiences and other health issues formed the foundation of Frank’s often morbid and surreal sense of humor.
Starting his radio career at WBAI in New York, Joe later served as a co-anchor for the weekend edition of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. In 1986, he moved to Santa Monica, California, to work at KCRW where he wrote, produced and performed in weekly hour-long radio programs in the series, Joe Frank: Work In Progress.
Joe continued to work at KCRW until 2002. His shows evolved as evidenced by the diverse series he produced, starting with Work in Progress, then In The Dark, followed by Somewhere Out There, and finally The Other Side.
While at KCRW, Joe received many honors, including the Peabody Award, the most coveted and distinguished award in radio and television broadcasting. He also received an Emmy Award for public television’s broadcast of Joe Frank: Storyteller. (Available online for Premium Members) He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2003. Joe is also a Guggenheim Fellow.
Joe Frank’s body of work (over 230 hours) continues to be aired on many NPR stations in the United States.
Joe Frank continues to produce new radio programs for KCRW’s Unfictional and also produces new works for the stage from time to time.
Joe Frank programming currently on the air