Karen Frillmann

Enterprise Editor, WNYC News

Karen Frillmann, WNYC's Enterprise Editor, works on the original and agenda setting stories that emerge from the microphones and recorders of WNYC’s reporting staff. She got her start in broadcast journalism at WNYC when it was still New York City’s Municipal Broadcasting System. 

As a producer, she launched Senior Edition which helped establish WNYC as a destination for talk and public affairs. She worked for five years as a freelance reporter and producer contributing to National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Company. As a senior producer at Simon and Schuster Audio, Karen worked with Alice Walker, Bob Woodward, Hunter S. Thompson  Stephen Ambrose and many other notable authors. She returned to public radio as an editor and co-producer for a series of documentaries which included an exploration of the changing NY Waterfront, the 1968 New York City teacher’s school strike and the changes in the city six months after the attacks of September 11th.  She took on the senior editorial position in the newsroom in 2003. 

Awards for her reporting and editing achievements include recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Armstrong Award, the Dupont-Columbia University Awards,  the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, The Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Award, The Associated Press Broadcasters Association,  the Newswomen’s Club of New York and  the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences from whom she received a Grammy nomination for her production of  “War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars.”     

Growing up in southeast Queens and having lived in various neighborhoods around the city, Karen is very happy to continue to document and report on her hometown. On summer weekends, she can be found swimming upriver in the Hudson where she has helped to establish a free floating river pool in Beacon, NY.    

Karen Frillmann appears in the following:

Can This Relationship Be Saved?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


As the de Blasio administration attempts to reset the troubled relationship between police and communities of color, WNYC measures the progress in one neighborhood in central Brooklyn.


The Dark Side of Fair Skin

Monday, April 07, 2014

In the ‘60’s and 70’s "Black is Beautiful" became a rallying cry for African Americans. Yet within the South Asian community, lightening products are a multi-billion dollar industry promising complexions and "whitish" skin tone. 

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Comments [46]

Talib Kweli in Conversation

Monday, April 07, 2014

Arun Venugopal speaks with Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli about music, memories and the good and bad of gentrification.


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Comments [8]

See The Streets Through an Ex-Con's Eyes

Monday, April 07, 2014

Alvin Entzminger, an ex-con and a long-time Central Harlem resident, shows you what you're overloooking.


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Comments [4]

Funny or Racist?

Monday, April 07, 2014

Reporter Arun Venugopal talks to Amber Ruffin, writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers, about how comedy is subverting racial stereotypes.  

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Comments [5]

The Case for Arranged Marriage

Monday, April 07, 2014

Could it be that your family knows better than you when it comes to your love life?

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Comments [6]

Fed Up With Rebuilding Delays, One Sandy Homeowner Sells

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homeowners are feeling frustrated with delays in the Buy it Back program, 10 months after it began accepting applications and 17 months after Sandy hit.


A Foot of Ice on the Hudson? It's a Good Time to Go Ice Yachting

Thursday, March 06, 2014

An ice yacht is like a sailboat that has been crossed with an ice skate, built to glide over the ice at great speeds—as fast as 80 miles per hour.

Comments [4]

Zero Homes Repaired. 19,920 to Go

Friday, February 28, 2014

More than a year after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New York City, not a single home here has been rebuilt or repaired with housing aid provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Sandy federal aid bill.

Comments [10]

Homeless Hope for Better Days With New Mayor

Friday, February 14, 2014

The number of homeless people in New York is higher than it’s been since the 1970s. But with the new Mayor in office, many who live in the shelters and their advocates say they see better days ahead.


Etan Patz Case Closed? FBI May Not Be Convinced

Friday, February 07, 2014

With a suspect in custody and a murder confession reportedly on tape, it would seem that the NYPD has finally solved the case of missing child Etan Patz.

But as Pro Publica reporter Joaquin Sapien discovered, the FBI might not agree that 52-year-old Pedro Hernandez is Patz’s killer. In ...


Pete Seeger, Unsuccessful Hermit

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What was it like to be the folk legend's friend and neighbor for 20 years? WNYC's Karen Frillmann remembers.

Comments [9]

"Do-Nothing Nonprofit" Actually Does Stuff

Thursday, January 23, 2014


In investigating Relief Resources, an Orthodox Jewish nonprofit targeted by the Moreland Commission, we found an organization that sometimes blurred the line between its mission and its lobbyist founder's political activities. But the commission effectively accused Relief of not existing and, by all accounts, it does.

Comments [17]

In Central Harlem, Breaking into the Middle Class Isn't Easy

Thursday, January 09, 2014


In a section of central Harlem, the median income has doubled in the last decade. But not everyone in the neighborhood is being lifted by the rising tide.

Comments [3]

The Middle Class Squeeze in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

In this vast swath of brownstone Brooklyn, filled with Renaissance architecture and stained glass windows, even people in households making more than double the city's median income can hardly afford to stay put.

Comments [5]

Louis Armstrong's Corona Sure Has Changed

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

For the last three decades of his life, the jazz great made a simple two story house on 107th street his home. And you have to wonder whether he'd recognize his corner of Queens today - a neighborhood of renters, not owners, where many struggle to live their own Hispanic-American dream.

Comments [6]

The Staten Island Neighborhood Where Making It Means Three Dogs, Not One

Monday, January 06, 2014


Economically speaking, Grasmere's plainness is part of its appeal. More than 60 percent of Grasmere residents have arrived since 2000. Many of the newcomers are immigrant families who either aspire to the middle class or have newly reached it. They don't need fancy. They need relatively cheap.

Comments [5]

Paying Kids to Go to School: Can it Work?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The city is trying to motivate kids by paying them to go to school, get good grades and pass standardized tests. The theory is that rewarding good choices in health, education and work leads to permanent changes in habits and behavior, breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Comments [7]

Did The NYPD Push A Mentally Ill Man To Falsely Confess To Murder?

Monday, December 23, 2013


Despite promising to start videotaping interrogations, the NYPD didn't. Now we might never know what really happened to Etan Patz.

Comments [2]

MICROPOLIS: Are Ethnic Enclaves Bad for Immigrants?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Ethnic enclaves are among the jewels of New York — places where the city's immigrants can ease their way into American life. But there's a serious downside: they stifle English proficiency and limit opportunities to climb the economic ladder.

Comments [10]