I am often asked how I came to have a radio show and I usually answer in the following way.
About twenty years ago just after the publication of my first book How to Raise Your I.Q. By Eating Gifted Children, I was sent out to promote the book. One of the ways I promoted it was by appearing on a number of radio shows and talking about the book. It is interesting to note that nine our of ten stores who learned of the book chuckled when they heard the title, and one out of ten said “That’s disgusting, I wouldn’t have a book like that in my store.” Nevertheless I remember being interviewed by John Wingate who was a prominent radio commentator at the time on WOR, and another radio show personality, Guy Lebow who was broadcasting on WNWK. Guy and I hit it off and had a lot of fun on the show such that after the show I asked Guy how one gets to do it from his side of the microphone. He told me that one could buy time on his or a number of other stations and then find the advertising to support the show. I thought I’d try it, but he told me they had no time available at his station.
A couple of months later Guy called and said there was a time available if I wanted it. I grabbed the six AM spot before Guy told me I’d have to put a show together in four days. Undaunted I immediately called my brother who knew a composer who wrote a theme for the show and then I invited a friend to by my first guest. What I envisioned was a comedy show since I wrote humor which seemed logical, but instead the show turned deadly serious and I continued to do straight interviews. Somehow I dragooned a few fancy friends into being guests, people like Tom Wolfe, and Erica Jong, and Edward Teller the physicist. Suddenly I had a show . . . though my audience couldn’t have been more than a few hundred random listeners.
One day Dominick Dunne came on the show, and called me the following day to tell me people had heard him on my show and invited him to be on theirs, and how grateful he was.. I was off and running, and Nick Dunne did pretty well himself and we are still friends to this day. Anyway the show evolved and over the years I’ve done some remarkable interviews with some incredible people and kind of love the show. Some of the shows are truly treasures, the last hour long interview with Jerzy Kozinski for example, or the one with Teller, but almost all of them are interesting. People even tell me I do wonderful interviews, and if that is true it is probably because I am passionate about what I do, and work without notes so that my questions are backed by genuine curiosity.
When you look through our archive think of it as if you are entering an old but friendly bookstore. You may want to listen to Freeman Dyson the brilliant mathematical physicist from the Institute for Advanced Study, and someone else may prefer John Grisham just after he wrote The Firm when he was still a young lawyer and excited about writing, or Mary Higgins Clark or her daughter Carol Higgins Clark.
Browse our interview list and you are sure to find a fun guest you would like to meet up close and personal as they say. Maybe it will be James Watson who along with Francis Crick discovered DNA, Oliver Sacks the neurologist, Calvin Trillin or Bruce Jay Friedman, or the late Wendy Wasserstein. . . . Carol Gilligan, Orhan Pamuk, or Laurent de Brunhof who wrote Babar The Elephant.
And if you do enjoy listening to the Frumkes show, come back and visit often, as we will be adding new interviews frequently, and write to us and tell us what you think. We’d love to hear from you.