[joe-frank-list] Re: Joe Frank heard on the radio in Chicago 24 hours a day

BILLMILOSZ at aol.com BILLMILOSZ at aol.com
Sat Oct 30 14:32:00 PDT 2004

In a message dated 10/30/2004 4:49:28 AM Central Daylight Time, 
MarkwP3096 at aol.com writes:

> If you like the guy's work, be prepared to pay for it. Everyone's got to 
> eat.


As far as the comment on "This subscription
plan is another way to extract a little more cash from his
ageing fan base"

This sounds like there's an assumption, on the part of the guy who wrote 
that, that Joe made PILES of money in his "salad days"- whoever thinks this has 
not worked in Public Radio, or in the creative arts in any way.  NOBODY in 
Public Radio makes any money! People in public radio are either volunteers, 
hardscrabble independent producers, or low-paid staff, aside from a few bigshots at 
NPR in Washington, DC, and some top management at the bigger NPR stations, who 
get salaries above $50,000. The average Starbucks worker gets more salary and 
better benefits than the guys behind the microphones at your local NPR 
station. I worked in public radio for 13 years, and income of $20,000 (in 2004 
dollars) for the producer of a program carried by the network was considered "the 
big time."

As far as Joe being in a "Dry Spell" it's really nothing to do with his 
creativity or output- it's a lack of SUPPORT.  When he was at KCRW they provided 
studio facilities which otherwise run $50~$100 an hour- and the general rule is 
that for every hour of material you hear on the radio there's 10-20 hours of 
studio work involved. I suspect with Joe it was more like 50 hours of studio 
and editing time for each hour aired.  Then, too, Joe had engineering help, 
typically an audio engineer adds $10-$30 an hour on top of studio costs, then 
there's acting talent like Larry Block, they have to be paid perhaps a few hundred 
dollars per segment, and so on.  Joe also had financial support from a number 
of foundations such as the NEA, the Guggenheim Foundation, and so on.  Most 
of that money has dried up in general, foundation money available to support 
arts of all kinds has declined sharply over the past 20 years.

Remember, when you see someone on TV there are commercial sponsors of the TV 
shows and so talent, producers and other staff of popular programs like "The 
Apprentice" share MILLIONS of dollars from the network because the sponsors 
-Coca Cola, Ford, etc., -- pay MILLIONS to run commercials during popular 
programs.  A program like "Somewhere Out There" may have been available to tens of 
millions of listeners, but National Public Radio doesn't have even 1% of the 
money flowing through NBC.  

So Joe has NEVER "raked it in."  And now, since KCRW pulled the plug (so it 
seems) on anything creative that is REMOTELY controversial, I suspect that Joe 
is hard pressed to pay his bills.  He does voice-over work (I've heard him on 
Discovery Channel docutainment) and so on, which I'm sure is how he makes ends 
meet.  His work is carried by a number of public stations, and the Joe Frank 
operation probably gets a few thousand dollars a year from that.  It's not 
NEARLY enough support to have the full-time audio production operation going that 
would be needed to produce a new program each week, like in the old days.

So, he's not "going dry"- he's been CAST ADRIFT, the minimal support that 
used to be offered to this important artist has been JERKED OUT FROM UNDER HIM.

For anyone to think that a wealthy Joe Frank is trying to "squeeze a few more 
dollars" from his "fans" is really not in touch with the bleak financial 
reality of life in creative radio and the arts.
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