KPFK's "The Car Show"
Published on Fri, Jun 28, 1996
By: Len Frank
“If you’re new, this will sort of let you know who we are; if you’re not so new, it will come as no shock.” – Len Frank. This is Len’s 1994 piece on 90.7 FM KPFK’s “The Car Show“, which he and John Retsek hosted for decades. The show is currently hosted by ABC7 Eyewitness News’ Dave Kunz, with frequent guest co-host and West Coast Autoweek Editor Mark Vaughn.
The Car Show still concentrates on drive reports of new cars—we try for one a week. The most frequently asked listener question is still “what should I buy?”.
We broadcast reportage on everything from the industry to club events, calls from races (last year Indy, Le Mans, and others), all manner of consumer stuff, anything automotive. We welcome guests.
One big difference between The Car Show and print is that when our callers ask for new car information on cars already covered, we more-or-less cheerfully supply it again and again over the years.
John Retsek started The Car Show on KPFK (90.7fm/Pacifica Network) in 1975, which makes it, we figure, the longest running auto radio show in the U.S. In 1977 Len Frank joined the show.
KPFK has a 112,000 watt signal and can be heard north of Santa Barbara, south of San Diego, east of Riverside, and west of the Moon, if anyone out there is listening.
Several hundred thousand are. Currently ninety minutes, we are looking forward to a full two hours. [Note: The Car Show went to a two hour format prior to Len’s passing, and is now a one-hour show.]
Art Gould, starting with The Car Show as an industry observer and motorsports insider, has worked in as a host over the last three years. Art worked for a major manufacturer for a dozen years and then managed one of the larger dealerships in the L.A. area for about ten more. While John’s automotive approach was that of a more-or-less typical enthusiast, and Len’s a bizarre mixture (ex-dealership owner, Art Center College of Design dropout, and sort-of racer), Art’s is, well…ask him about dealership franchise agreements, motorsports commerce, collectibles, street racing…
Len (ex-Motor Trend, etc.) writes frequently for European Car, often for Popular Science, Road & Track, Popular Mechanics, Others Too Numerous to Mention, and now a weekly column for The L.A. Reader.
John, who wrote regularly for Sports Car International, has taken a short hiatus from print journalism.
WHAT ELSE? Len teaches driving at Willow Springs a few times a year and races whatever he can whenever he can. John won his third Emmy last year for his work at KCET. Art has been building (forever) an LT-1-powered S10 Blazer street machine to go with his (nearly finished) 502 cu.in 66 Corvette.
Top image: Len Frank and John Retsek in the early years of “The Car Show”. The show is currently hosted by ABC7 Eyewitness News’ Dave Kunz, with frequent guest co-host and West Coast Autoweek Editor Mark Vaughn, and can be heard on KPFK 90.7 on the FM dial every Saturday at 1pm in Los Angeles. (R. Nakano photo taken in Retsek’s former office at the KCET studios)
The late Len Frank was the legendary co-host of “The Car Show”—the first and longest-running automotive broadcast program on the airwaves. Len was also a highly regarded journalist, having served in editorial roles with Motor Trend, Sports Car Graphic, Popular Mechanics, and a number of other publications. LA Car is proud to once again host “Look Down the Road – The Writings of Len Frank” within its pages. Special thanks to another long-time automotive journalist, Matt Stone, who has been serving as the curator of Len Frank’s archives since his passing in 1996. Now, you’ll be able to view them all in one location under the simple search term “Len Frank”, or just click this link: Look Down The Road. – Roy Nakano