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Doc Talk Radio Offers an Earful on Nonfiction

By Tamara Krinsky

Doc Talk Radio offers a unique opportunity for documentarians to get the word out about their films. The program, co-hosted by DJs Arne Johnson and Shane King on 87.9 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the only radio show that exclusively focuses on the documentary filmmaking community and its stories.

The show explores the filmmaking process and the subjects of particular projects, and features both local filmmakers and those who are passing through the Bay Area for festivals, shoots and screenings. According to Johnson, the show grew organically out of his and King's own filmmaking efforts. The two are currently working on the documentary Girls Rock!, for which the IDA is fiscal sponsor. The film tells the story of a community of women in Portland, Oregon who are using rock 'n' roll to empower and transform the lives of pre-teen and teenage girls through the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls and the Girls Rock Institute.

While working on the film, Johnson and King also hosted a radio show where, Johnson says, "We were just goofing around." When they realized that a lot of their guests ended up being doc filmmakers and that they often ended up talking about their experiences with Girls Rock! on the air, they decided to formalize the show and rename it Doc Talk.

"We called it Doc Talk because we were inspired by the show Car Talk, the popular radio show about cars," Johnson maintains.

While part of the show focuses on the filmmaking process, there's much to be found for the more general audience. Guests select related music or songs from their soundtracks; talk in depth about the subjects of their films, which have ranged from Puerto Rican revolutionaries to the efforts to preserve one's right to disagree in an increasingly hostile atmosphere; and play actual excerpts from the films. Johnson and King encourage people to call in and ask for advice, or respond to other listeners' queries.

Doc Talk is broadcast every Tuesday night from 8 to10 p.m. Those who don't reside in the Bay Area can catch the show online at either www.piratecatradio/site/listen.html or by using iTunes, under both the "Eclectic" and "Public" headings. Podcasts of previous shows can be found at

Documentarians who are interested in appearing on the show can contact Doc Talk at either 415.252.7964 or via e-mail at