Re-Imagined Radio pays tribute to Joe Frank, a great radio storyteller

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Over 30 years, Joe Frank entertained thousands of listeners with his radio productions. His husky, insomniac voice delivered ideas and stories that were often surrealistic, even absurd. Through monologue, radio drama and talk radio, he told at least 250 stories. With its August episode, “Joe Frank Tribute,” Re-Imagined Radio showcases his work, sampling five of his best-known productions.

The premier broadcast and live stream airs at 1 p.m. Aug. 15 on KXRW-FM, Vancouver, and KXRY-FM, Portland. Subsequent broadcasts and streams will be provided by local, regional and international broadcast partners.

Contents include “Jewish Blues” (1978), one of the earliest known recordings of Frank hosting his late-night program, “In the Dark,” at WBAI radio in New York; “Memories,” a 10-minute short film made for CBS-TV and broadcast in 1990; “Green Cadillac,” produced and performed by Frank at KCRW in Santa Monica in 1993; “Reality Check” broadcast in 2013 by KCRW as part of a new series, “Un-Fictional”; and “A Life Well Lived” (2013), also part of “UnFictional.”

Together, the five samples illustrate Frank’s early storytelling process, his distinctive mature radio style, and his technique and success as a radio storyteller even in addressing difficult questions about the human condition, as he did in later life.

Frank (1938 – 2018) was born Joseph Langermann in Strasbourg, France. He and his parents fled to New York City to avoid German Nazi persecution. His father died when Joe was 5, and he took the surname of his stepfather. He grew up to teach English and Russian literature and philosophy, produce music concerts and love baseball, whose announcers inspired him.

Re-imagined Radio premieres episodes on the third Monday of the month on KXRW-FM and KXRY-FM. In addition, every Sunday, an episode of Re-Imagined Radio is broadcast on KXRW only, drawing from previously broadcast episodes. Episodes can be streamed on demand from the Re-Imagined Radio website, www.reimaginedradio.net.

Community Partners

Re-Imagined Radio draws on community voice actors, Foley artists, musicians, sound artists and engineers. Partners include KXRW-FM, Marc Rose, Martin John Gallagher, Kathy Klaus and Regina Carol Social Media Management. 

About Re-Imagined Radio

Re-Imagined Radio was begun in 2013 by John Barber, faculty member of the Creative Media and Digital Culture Program at WSU Vancouver, to celebrate radio storytelling. “We select, produce and perform classic and contemporary stories across a spectrum of radio genres, from dramas to comedies, from oral to aural histories, from documentaries to fictions, from soundscapes to sonic journeys, from radio to sound art,” Barber said. 

About WSU Vancouver

WSU Vancouver is in the homeland of Chinookan and Taidnapam peoples and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. As one of six campuses of the WSU system, WSU Vancouver offers big-school resources in a small-school environment. The university provides affordable, high-quality baccalaureate- and graduate-level education to benefit the people and communities it serves. As the only four-year research university in Southwest Washington, WSU Vancouver helps drive economic growth through relationships with local businesses and industries, schools and nonprofit organizations. 

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MEDIA CONTACT(S)

Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communication, 360-546-9601, brenda_alling@wsu.edu

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