Karen Frillmann

Executive Producer, WNYC Narrative Unit

Karen is a veteran editor in WNYC’s newsroom, and directs the long-form narrative unit that created the acclaimed podcast series There Goes the Neighborhood and The United States of Anxiety…

Karen lends her expertise as a story whisperer to the New Yorker Radio Hour for the development of long-form features and special episodes like “Syria, The World’s Nightmare.”

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:

They’ve Never Wanted You to Vote

Monday, October 26, 2020

From poll taxes to the canard of “voter fraud,” it’s always been a struggle to cast a ballot in America. We review the record, and investigate the anti-democracy enablers of 2020. 

A Zombie Political Party

Monday, October 19, 2020

Conservatives who’ve shunned the GOP say it’s given up on democracy. Which begs the question: How long ago did that happen?

Inside the Pandemic's First Days

Monday, October 12, 2020

What can we learn from our short, grim history with Covid-19? Former New York City health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot reflects on the opening weeks of the nation’s largest outbreak.

How to Steal an Election

Monday, October 05, 2020

The president has made clear he will dispute the results if he loses in November. But actually, the fight over the count has already begun.

A Historian's Guide to the 2020 Election

Monday, September 28, 2020

Many of the conflicts that we face today echo from the often forgotten Reconstruction era. We go back 165 years to understand the unfulfilled promises of our past and how we got here.

A Court On The Edge

Monday, September 21, 2020

Voting rights cases are moving fast. The Affordable Care Act faces yet another life or death hearing. And that’s before we even get to the fight over who’ll replace Justice Ginsburg.

Dissent, Dissent, Dissent

Sunday, September 20, 2020

As the country mourns the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we gather together to honor the life and legacy of the woman, the pioneer, the icon and the daughter of Brooklyn.

Serving Up Social Justice

Monday, September 14, 2020

Despite empty stands, athletes are making waves across the sports industry speaking out against anti-black violence. Many Americans support, but not everyone is a fan.

The Necessary Work

Monday, September 07, 2020

Public and care workers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, but who takes care of them? We explore the histories, realities and hopes of these very essential workers.

Scared in the Suburbs

Monday, August 31, 2020

The suburbs have long been considered safe spaces for white Americans to retreat from ‘dangerous’ big cities. Now violent unrest around the country threatens that sheltered way of life.

“It’s My Party”

Monday, August 24, 2020

For our first LIVE episode we take calls and reflect on last week’s Democratic National Convention by exploring what it means to be a member in a party divided.

Revisiting Caught: 'You Just Sit There and Wait for the Next Day to Come'

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Solitary confinement has been proven gravely dangerous for young people. For some, it represents another way to survive, but often at the expense of making it home. Where is Z now?

Revisiting Caught: 'They Look at Me Like a Menace'

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Just one diagnosis can make or break a seemingly endless cycle of incarceration, but for 16-year-old Z, it’s complicated. And frustrating. Our presentation of Caught continues.

Revisiting Caught: 'I Just Want You to Come Home'

Thursday, July 30, 2020

What happens once we decide a child is a criminal? We return to Caught as the nation continues to grapple with long-standing systemic racism in our policing and justice systems.

The Laws of Soil and Blood

Friday, July 17, 2020

Afro-Italians like Bellamy Ogak are not born citizens by law. Their story is a reminder why U.S. birthright citizenship is a radical idea: It ended slavery.

Zoned for Resistance

Friday, July 10, 2020

Chicago’s Little Village has been hit hard by COVID-19, but after a botched demolition left it coated in dust, one lifelong activist and her community are standing together while apart.

Juneteenth, an Unfinished Business

Friday, June 26, 2020

As the nation grapples with a reckoning, we pause to celebrate Juneteenth. Our holiday special, for Black liberation and the ongoing birth of the United States.

Rage, Grief, Joy

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Something has been pushed to the surface that can no longer be repressed. And it’s transforming everything— from what we tolerate politically to how we mourn those we’ve lost.

'Community' Is a Verb. And It’s Hard

Friday, June 12, 2020

People all over the country are stepping up to make change. But as they do, they face challenges that go beyond Covid-19 and police violence. Two stories, from Chicago and New York City.

Keeping Released Prisoners Safe and Sane

Thursday, June 04, 2020

What if we release prisoners with no one to help them? We follow a psychiatrist and social worker as they try to find and support mentally ill inmates being released during a pandemic.