Biography

Larry Josephson has worked in radio for 45 years, starting as an engineer at WBAI-FM, Pacifica’s New York outlet.

Larry Josephson photo: Dana Ullman

His infamous morning program, In The Beginning ran from 1966-72.  Six months after he began, Jack Gould, then the Times’ Radio/TV critic, wrote a rave review that ended with

“… for those who get out of bed on the wrong side, Mr. Josephson is to be recommended in place of instant oatmeal and diet toast.”          
(NY Times 11/22/66)

Josephson was often late arriving to his program, after working all night debugging his programs at IBM, where he was a programmer.

Occasionally he did not arrive at all, which meant that WBAI did not start broadcasting until the next announcer showed up

 “When this happens his loyal fans presumably wait by their radios for two hours listening to the sounds of inter-stellar static … For sheer creativity in extending the medium, these may very well be Josephson’s finest hours.”  (NY Times 3/26/67).

Larry Josephson has been Bob & Ray‘s producer for 30 years: curating over 100 hours of Bob & Ray on CD and iTunes, an NPR series, and two sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall: He won a Peabody Award and three Grammy nominations. BobandRay.com

His current project: recording every word of Ulysses by James Joyce, with actors likeAlec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Wallace Shawn and Caraid O’Brien as Molly Bloom, among many others. CompleteUlysses.com. Three chapters and parts of many others have been recorded so far. It will require 30 hours to listen to all of it. Josephson hopes to finish the project before he goes to The Great Pub in the Sky.

LJ at the mic

Larry also created and hosted two national talk shows heard on 150 NPR stations

BRIDGES: A Liberal/Conservative Dialogue, a failed attempt to get conservatives talking to liberals on NPR, and

MODERN TIMES WITH LARRY JOSEPHSON about Life, Death and Everything

 

In 1977 Josephson established The Radio Foundation, a nonprofit radio production and distribution organization. In addition to Bob & Ray, Larry hosts and produces an annual reading of excerpts from Ulysses by James Joyce, heard for the past 30 years everyBloomsday (June 16) on WBAI, New York (99.5 FM) and on Pacifica stations and affiliates nationwide.

His other productions include Only In America: The Story of American Jews (an 8-hour documentary featuring Ellie Wiesel and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and

What Is Judaism?, conversations about the history, liturgy and foods of seven Jewish holidays, with Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor Emeritus of the Jewish Theological Seminary. These programs were heard on 220 NPR stations. Links to all of Larry’s past work can be found at  radioart.org

Larry Josephson, 72, twice divorced, lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with a cat named Chloe. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, for which he profoundly apologizes, and was educated at Berkeley. Much to his surprise, Larry joined a synagogue a few years ago (he had barely been inside one since his bar mitzvah). He has three grown children and a set of twin grandchildren.

Josephson’s obsessions are cats, kids, radio and food: thinking, dreaming and  talking about food, and consuming lots of delicious dishes.  His motto: food is more important than life itself.  He often can be seen at Zabar’s, the Jewish Vatican. Larry has his own table at Barney Greengrass, which he shares with 10,000 other people every Sunday morning.