Do You Mind if I Record This Phone Call - Celebrating the Work of Joe Frank

By [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In news that for some reason didn't making international headlines, the world lost Joe Frank  in January from complications from colon cancer. I'm sure you, of course, know who Joe Frank was, but just in case your friends ask you, you can say "Joe Frank was a radio producer. But not just any producer, he was the radio producer's radio producer."

Susan Emerling has a great line about the experience of what it is like to listen: "The perfect Joe Frank experience is driving down an unfamiliar highway alone at night." Jad Ubumrad of RadioLab made the comment "It's his voice is coming from inside your head, out and then back in again."

Joe Frank was a fixture of Santa Monica NPR station KCRW for years, where he wrote and edited hundreds of hours monologuesstoriesradio playsoff-kilter interviews and recorded phone calls. He was also an artistic mentor to Ira Glass of This American Life and (un)known to countless countless monologuists and podcasters. To paraphrase Brian Eno's comment about the the Velvet Underground, Joe Frank made everyone who listened to his shows a radio producer. 

I still cherish my cassette mixtape of "the 80 Yard Run" that I recorded off my friend Mark during grad school. To you take a listen to some of his work here and here. Of course, if you really want, you can pay $1,510 for his entire discography.