Karen Frillmann

Editor-At-Large, 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:

How to Spot the End of Democracy

Monday, January 10, 2022

NYT columnist Thomas Edsall helps tackle that question, as callers tell us how anxious they are about the state of our democracy. Then, is the right better at the internet than the left?

Lynn Nottage: Unexpected Optimist

Monday, January 03, 2022

Playwright Lynn Nottage breaks down her remarkable career and shares how, as an optimist at heart, she finds the light and resilience in unexpected stories.

What Does Black Ambition Sound Like?

Monday, December 27, 2021

Composer Jason Moran takes us on a musical journey back to 1918, when a group of Black soldiers reinvented American music.

Face the Darkness, Welcome the Light

Monday, December 20, 2021

Do you need a revival? On the longest night of the year, join us to celebrate Yalda, a poetic Persian tradition. Then, a conversation about those we’ve lost with artist Gregory Porter.

A Year of Performing Humanity, Reviewed

Monday, December 13, 2021

A.O. Scott, co-chief film critic of the New York Times, helps us review the year in culture. What can we learn about our struggling effort to live together from this year’s art?

The Supreme Court v. Our Rights

Monday, December 06, 2021

Another year of the SCOTUS is coming to a close. But can we still trust our nine appointed justices to be the final arbiters of the law?

An Anti-Racism Refresher

Monday, November 29, 2021

Anti-racist work snuck into the mainstream last year. But ever since, it’s received a huge backlash. Why, and what did right-wing media have to gain?

The Myth of a ‘United’ States

Monday, November 22, 2021

History shows that our country’s been divided from the start. So should we just break up already? Plus, what to do when the divide gets real at the Thanksgiving table.

Promises to Help the Climate Keep Breaking

Monday, November 15, 2021

Who’s breaking them, and why? After COP26, we talk to climate journalists Elizabeth Kolbert and David Wallace-Wells about the real cost of the crisis and who is paying the price.

Fired at 59: Lessons on Job Insecurity in the U.S.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Ray Suarez was 59 when he lost a dream job that took decades to reach. What he did next reveals a harsh reality of class blindness and the consequences of job insecurity in the U.S.

How the Dead Still Speak to Us

Monday, November 01, 2021

This Halloween, we reveal its history and why connecting to the dead is important to so many, from Ireland, to Mexico, to NYC. Plus a guided meditation to help you connect, too.

Making it in New York: The Eric Adams Story

Monday, October 25, 2021

In just two weeks, New Yorkers could elect Eric Adams, making him the city’s second-ever Black mayor. What does his story tell us about the ways race and power have evolved in NYC?

What’s Wrong With the NFL?

Monday, October 18, 2021

Football is a big part of community and culture in the U.S. But as the NFL confronts another scandal involving racism, misogyny, and homophobia: how should fans respond?

The True Story of Critical Race Theory

Monday, October 11, 2021

Is racism a permanent fixture of society? Jelani Cobb, staff writer for The New Yorker, unravels the history of Derrick Bell’s quest to answer that question.

Hear No Evil: Asylum Policy in America

Monday, October 04, 2021

Displaced Haitians are still seeking safe harbor. But the U.S. long ago abandoned the ideal that all migrants should at least be allowed to tell their stories.

Art That Matters

Monday, September 27, 2021

The fall season is here. Can the creative work that’s been made during the pandemic, and that’s going to be made now, help us move forward together?

Nothing You Do Alone Will Save the Climate

Monday, September 20, 2021

New science finds we’ve got less than a decade to avoid catastrophe. Activist and author Bill McKibben says the only solutions that can beat that deadline are collective.

A 9/12 Story: ‘I Forgot I Was a Muslim Kid’

Monday, September 13, 2021

Aymann Ismail reflects on his journey through a post-9/11 America, and how the state reminded him who he was. Plus, we meet the creators of Broadway’s ‘Come From Away.’

Maybe We Just Want Less ‘Work’

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The “Great Resignation” appears to be a real thing. But why? We ask workers what they really want. Plus, 45 questions to help us understand each other, and ourselves.

How Zillow Explains Education Inequity

Monday, August 30, 2021

Hundred year old school buildings. Sputtering HVAC systems. Covid revealed a legacy of racism that’s built into the physical infrastructure of education.