Joe Frank

Joe Frank (1938 - 2018) began his radio career in 1976 at WBAI, Pacifica's New York station, and served as co-anchor of NPR's All Things Considered in the show's early days.

At WBAI, he hosted a Saturday night show called In the Dark , where he experimented with live free-form radio featuring his monologues and actor improvisations that evolved into his trademark sound and sensibility. Over the course of the next four decades Frank produced over two hundred radio programs for KCRW in Santa Monica, and NPR. Frank was also a performer, playwright and author of The Queen of Puerto Rico and Other Stories , based on his radio work.

Throughout his career, Frank was honored with many major industry awards including the 2003 Third Coast's Lifetime Achievement Award, a George Foster Peabody Award, and an Emmy. Over the years Joe’s distinctive approach to making radio has inspired producers around the country to experiment with and stretch the medium beyond traditional boundaries.


This hour: producer Dmae Roberts grapples with the history and memories of her Taiwanese mother, a history of PTSD, and more.

This hour: we're diving into the archives and rewinding our way to the 1970s and 80s, sampling some of the fascinating, strange, and hilarious work that was produced when public radio was a medium without a real template.

This hour: spiritual loss and pursuit, an isolated religious community in rural Montana, a grumpy minister, and more.

Sweepstakes Winner

Joe Frank, the original radio maverick, is known for leaving listeners more than a bit uncomfortable.

Fresh Air: Joe Frank

"Whatever tragedies might befall you, you can always right away think, 'well that would make a great story for radio!'"

Minister Excerpt

Joe Frank, master of late night radio, assembled this piece: a phone conversation between himself and a cranky minister.

Suicide Bridge

Lines form around the block for the world's most popular suicide spot.

Arthur and Eleanor

Eleanor needs a family -- but the only family she had, her ex-husband Arthur, doesn't really need her anymore.

Larry and Zach

In Joe Frank's imagined world, a father and son conduct a conversation that appears to center around certain, tangible topics. But it's actually a searing and candid examination of their relationship -- no holds barred.


Joe Frank's Dreamers is more like an M.C Escher drawing than a traditional tale and leaves you questioning the blurry line between dreams and reality.

Re:sound #251 Jesse & Joe

This hour, we remember the audio work of two brilliant producers who recently passed away — Jesse Cox & Joe Frank.


Seeing Sound

Sound editor Walter Murch (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient), sound designer Randy Thom (The Right Stuff, The Thin Blue Line), and radio artist Joe Frank deconstruct excerpts from their work...