I am Richard Looney. For reasons I won't go into here, "Rash" has been my nickname since High School. I started the Joe Frank FAQ on Usenet in the very early days of the Internet, based on notes I'd been taking since the late 1980s, when I lived in LA and Joe was on KCRW.
I first heard Joe Frank on Halloween, 1979, when I still lived in my hometown of Washington DC. There were two public radio stations serving the area then, and I knew All Things Considered was repeated on the one, 90 minutes after the other. On this date they played something remarkable, at the end of the news: The Night Watchman, from Lies. It was so weird, well-done and thought-provoking, I readied my cassette deck an hour later, and recorded it during the repeat. Unfortunately I wasn't in time to catch the preceding, explanatory comments so I had no idea about what I'd captured; but it was a favorite in my audio collection.
Eight years later, I had moved to Southern California, still getting used to the public radio out there. KCRW was playing in the other room, late one afternoon in October, when I was stunned to realize I was hearing a familiar voice! It was the premiere of At The Border, and I was amazed to learn the Night Watchman had a weekly radio show! Naturally I started recording his shows, logging details as they were broadcast. My reaction to Performer was so strong that I was compelled to send Joe fan mail, to which he responded, eventually.
At the time, KCRW sold audio cassettes of his shows, and I mailed a request to them. The chronological listing they sent back, which labeled each program as either a Drama or Monologue (or, confusingly, both), was the basis and origin of the FAQ. I'm no longer clear on the development details but eventually, Henry Lowengard found it on The Well and posted the FAQ on WFMU's website, where it still lives today (but hasn't been updated since '04, sorry). Early on, many forgotten contributors helped identify the music Joe used, which I added to each program's details, along with the credits given at the end of each show. About the time Joe went commercial and started up joefrank.com, I was finding his material repetitive, and I lost interest. I did meet Joe twice, however - at his performance at 72 Market Street (where a friend was a waiter, so I had an "in") and later, at his book-signing for The Queen of Puerto Rico, at Book Soup on the Sunset Strip, in 1993.
So many thanks to the newer generation of Frank-o-philes for updating this Wiki!