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MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART => Now Playing => Topic started by: 9dragons on January 29, 2008, 03:10:08 AM

Title: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
Post by: 9dragons on January 29, 2008, 03:10:08 AM
If you are in any way interested in old school radio goodness; in strange extended stories told in deadpan, mesmerizing voice; in melding of sound design and story that leads you into a trance of mystery...then you must listen to some Joe Frank shows. I caught these amazing shows first, probably in the mid-eighties on public radio, and followed them for many years through many incarnations. This guy is a master storyteller, by equal turns bizarre, extremely emotional, hilarious, and outright weirdly delightful. Many of the shows have backdrops of sound that might be recognizable to fans of ambient and other outland musics. Indeed, I think this show is what broke me into the idea of drone and ambient music, before I even could conceive of what it truly was. Go to the website and sign up for the free samples, they are delightful...then plunge in deeper if you like what you hear and need to hear more:


There is nothing else like it on the air. An audio holiday for heart and soul.
Title: Re: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
Post by: 9dragons on March 28, 2008, 02:19:04 PM
Anybody out there checked out the Joe Frank?

I just found another resource for free online streaming of the show, or I guess if you live near University of Massachusetts Amherst you could listen to it on the radio, 'Strange Bedfellows' with Jeff Wagenheim: An hour of Joe Frank's surreal radio collage, followed by a real eye-opener; dharma and diatribe, poetry, and comedy, music from way out there and deep inside. Appears to be running Tuesday nights 10pm-12am (I believe that would be Eastern time):

Title: Re: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
Post by: Brian Bieniowski on March 28, 2008, 02:35:59 PM
Joe's had a show on WFMU (the NJ freeform radio station) for years, and I think his stuff is incredible.  I don't know where he gets those musical backgrounds, but the mixture between those and his voice is totally out of this world.  Back in the old days it was all only available on cassette.  Got to check out his site to see if those ever made it to CD, because I'd buy the whole collection.

One time I heard him do a voiceover on a VH-1 documentary and it was weird to hear the "professional" Joe over the metaphysical priest of the airwaves side.
Title: Re: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
Post by: 9dragons on March 28, 2008, 02:48:27 PM
It's great to see another fan here! A very useful resource for finding those favorite old shows is the Joe Frank Wiki:


It lists a detailed description and also the source of the musical accompaniment. It was very intersting to see this aspect, as I remember very vividly the weird and wonderful drones and sounds. I was happy to see a lot of Eno (which I got into years after listening to Joe in the mid-eighties, and wondered why those magical drones clicked with me so much and sounded so nostalgically familiar) and even Jon Hassell (the show Cocktails Before Dinner features the album Power Spot). I agree that these drones mixed with his voice is otherworldy, trance-inducing...and of course hearing them again brings me back to the days of being 14, sitting in the kitchen late into the night, just being blown away by this weird stream of profundiy and absurdity coming out of the radio.
Title: Re: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
Post by: 9dragons on April 26, 2008, 11:17:38 AM
Looks like some new freebies have been posted at the Joe Frank website. If you are in the mood for some glorious psychedelic absurdity, check out the 'Ascent to K2'...

Title: Re: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
Post by: 9dragons on December 15, 2008, 03:51:40 PM
Winter is the perfect time to subscribe to the Joe Frank show. I finally broke down and put up my 9.99 for a monthly premium membership (all the shows for the past thirty years or so) and am enjoying them immensely. Hard to believe I have been a fan of this man's work for over twenty years. It was around 1987 that I switched on the kitchen radio one late night and heard this stream of unbelievable strangeness come forth. The man's voice has an amazing darkness to it. And one thing I am discovering by being able to listen to all these shows is how much ambient/drone he uses. This must have affected me more than I thought, and was probably the driving force that made me suddenly realize that I loved ambient music decades later.

There is nothing like this on the radio these days. It's hard to imagine that Joe Frank's work was once mainstream on NPR, for many years. The stuff that is on now, in its place so to speak (Wiretap, This American Life), is so watered down and derivative of Joe Frank, it makes me sad for the younger generation who are missing out on what radio can be.
Title: Re: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
Post by: 9dragons on February 01, 2009, 12:49:36 PM
Anyone with a radio show can apparently play Joe Frank shows for no fee. Check it out and make someone's night by playing Joe Frank. This also has a list of the lucky few who are able to hear Joe's programs on air:


I've been on a total JF binge right now, listening through the subscription service, catching up on the Other Side series that I mostly missed out on at the time it aired. I think I'm able to appreciate these shows a lot more at this time.

I'm finding that there are many fans out there, and some forums discussing his work:


Also check out the Joe Frank Wiki, many interesting links:


I've been trying to discover which show I first heard years back, must have been '86 or '87. I have vague memories of it, but I will know it when I hear it.