Joe Frank

Mar 14, 2013

Ira writes:

My first real job at NPR when I was 19 was as a production assistant for a guy named Joe Frank. I remember sitting in one of NPR's old first-floor studios on M Street in Washington, listening to Joe as he recorded a monologue, feeling all caught up in everything he was saying, wondering what would happen next in the story, transported in a way I'd never felt before listening to the radio. I wondered how he did it. I wanted to do it myself. Of course I'd listened to lots of radio before that, but I'd never heard anyone tell a story on the air that was actually truly can't-turn-away think-about-it-for-days-after compelling.

One of our former producers, Jonathan Goldstein, just did a great interview with Joe in The Believer. Jonathan's show WireTap is unmistakably influenced by Joe's work. He understands Joe's approach at a cellular level. So it was amazing — for me, anyway — to read what happened when they actually spoke to each other. I'm so interested to know if Joe has ever heard WireTap, but they don't get into that.

If you don't know either show, I recommend them both. A great Joe Frank episode to start with is the one Jonathan mentions in The Believer, "The Eighty Yard Run." Yes, Joe asks you to pay for the download. Prepare to get hooked.

Illustration of Joe Frank by Tony Millionaire for The Believer