Karen Frillmann

Executive Producer, WNYC Narrative News 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:

Episode 2: We've Been Here Before

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This episode is about “The Year of the Woman” – but not 2018. Barbara Mikulski and three female senators elected in 1992 look back at the start of the modern era of women in politics.

Kavanaugh Allegations Bring Echoes of Anita Hill

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Kai Wright, host of WNYC's The United States of Anxiety, examines how new sexual assault allegations brought against Brett Kavanaugh echo the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings.

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Episode 1: The Dream Was Not Mine

Monday, September 17, 2018

Jennifer Willoughby and Saily Avelenda each woke up one day wanting to make a change. They ended up toppling two political giants. Plus: why the 2018 midterms could make history.

The United States of Anxiety Season Three: There's an Election Coming

Friday, September 14, 2018

Women have had the vote for nearly a century. Yet, power remains concentrated in the hands of men. Will 2018 change that?

Episode 9: 'You Just Sit There and Wait for the Next Day to Come'

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Solitary confinement has been proven gravely dangerous for young people. The Marshall Project teamed up with Caught to investigate how widespread the practice remains in New York.

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Episode 8: 'I Want Someone to Love Me Even for a Second'

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Girls make up a small fraction of the incarcerated juvenile population, but they often land in detention because they have experienced some form of trauma or abuse.

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Episode 7: 'It’s the Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done'

Monday, March 26, 2018

Parents know that, sometimes, kids just need time to work through stuff. A network of expensive, intense programs is selling that time to families with the means to buy it.

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Episode 6: 'Please Lock Up My Kid'

Friday, March 23, 2018

One of the most notable entry points in the school-to-prison pipeline opened when desperate parents turned to law enforcement for help keeping their kids out of trouble.

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Episode 5: 'The Teenage Brain Is Like a Sports Car'

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Brain science convinced the Supreme Court to give thousands of so-called "juvenile lifers" a shot at freedom. Stephen is one of them.

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Episode 4: 'Oh My God, What Have I Done?'

Monday, March 19, 2018

Children who struggle with mental health issues are often swept up in the justice system. Honor perpetrates a violent crime, but instead of jail, he gets a shot at a diversion program. 

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Episode 3: 'He Really Wants to Shoot Someone'

Friday, March 16, 2018

In 1978, Willie Bosket murdered two people on the New York City subway. His crimes changed everything for kids and criminal justice.

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Episode 2: 'They Look at Me Like a Menace'

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Z navigates a Catch 22 that's familiar to kids in the system: He only gets the help he needs when he acts out, but "turning up" means he can't go home.

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Episode 1: 'I Just Want You to Come Home'

Monday, March 12, 2018

Z is a teenager serving time for armed robbery. Dwayne Betts is a lawyer who spent nine years of his youth incarcerated. The same criminal justice policies landed them in jail.

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Coming Soon: Mass Incarceration Starts Young

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Roughly a million kids a year get caught up in the criminal justice system. Over nine episodes, we'll listen as some of those young people tell their stories.

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Review: Fear and Violence in "Office Hour"

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Julia Cho's play at the Public Theater explores gun violence and the "what ifs" that could prevent mass shootings.

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The City of Beacon Tries to Live Up to Its Name

Thursday, October 26, 2017

After the election of Donald Trump in 2016, a debate broke out about 65 miles north of New York City in the small city of Beacon: how to protect their most powerless residents.

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Episode 12: The Counter-Jihad Movement & the Making of a President

Monday, September 11, 2017

David Yerushalmi sees the threat of radical Islam everywhere. And thanks to him and his allies, the president now does, too.  

Video: Living in Between Worlds

Monday, September 11, 2017

One Brooklyn woman's complicated relationship with the hijab and the experience of living in between worlds.

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America's Fourth: Beyond Pie and BBQs

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

As we come to celebrate the independence of America on the Fourth of July, we talk about the holiday's past, present, and future.   

Episode 10: The Drug War

Monday, July 03, 2017

The "War on Drugs" began over fifty years ago as part of a political strategy to create anxiety around race and crime and also in response to a growing opioid problem.