Joe Frank, a longtime voice at KCRW, passed away on January 15, 2018. The cause was complications after surgery for colon cancer. He was 79 years old. Joe Frank’s story-telling “radio noir” style influenced many podcasters to create story driven work.
KCRW wrote a detailed piece about Joe Frank that you may want to read. It included:
A Peabody Award and Emmy Award winner, Frank earned a reputation as a visionary audio producer who pushed the medium beyond traditional boundaries. He also inspired younger radio broadcasters, including Ira Glass, Jad Abumrad, Jonathan Goldstein, and many others, to experiment with storytelling formats.
The official Joe Frank website has a section on his work. He began his career in 1976 at WBAI in New York City. In his Saturday night show “In the Dark” he experimented with live freeform radio featuring his monologues and actor improvisations.
In 1978, he was hired to co-anchor Weekend All Things Considered on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”. Not long after that, Joe Frank returned to producing radio shows for NPR Playhouse. Joe Frank produced over two hundred radio programs for KCRW, Santa Monica, and NPR.
Joe Frank recently performed live before full houses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. He also returned to broadcasting, and was producing new shows for KCRW’s radio series “Unfictional”.