John Rabe Host, Off-Ramp

John Rabe bio photo
Contact John Rabe

John Rabe is the creator and host of Off-Ramp, KPCC's weekend news and arts magazine program, which has been named "best local public affairs show" by two national journalism associations.

Prior to his time on Off-Ramp, Rabe was KPCC's host for "All Things Considered" and the station's housing & healthcare reporter, for which he garnered many awards – including several Golden Mikes.

Rabe began his career as a commercial DJ in high school in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, then found his niche as reporter and anchor at WKAR, Michigan State University's public radio station, where he earned his BA in English.

Rabe has also worked in public radio in South Florida, at WHYY in Philadelphia, and Minnesota Public Radio. He came to KPCC in 2000. Off-Ramp debuted in 2006.

He lives with his husband and Irish terriers in the foothills of Mt Washington, north of downtown LA.


Stories by John Rabe

Rabe is a St Marianne Cope miracle spoilsport

Ummm ... doesn't anybody out there, like an EDITOR, think this story deserves at least one "allegedly?" Even a "purportedly," or that old standby "church officials say?"

Margaret O'Brien and the SoCal Motion Picture Council

She was one of the biggest box office draws of her time, and she's devoted much of the rest of her life to charity. I've always wanted to meet Margaret O'Brien and Monday night I'll get my chance because she's a special guest at the Southern California Motion Picture Council's 75th annual holiday banquet.

Judge James Reese - 92-year old advocate for troubled kids

On Off-Ramp, we like to talk with witnesses to history, people who bring history alive, instead of leaving it on the dry pages of a book. Retired Judge James Reese is one of these voices of history. He was raised in the segregated south, served in the Army during WW2, became one of the relatively few black lawyers in LA in 1946, and was Ray Charles' legal counsel for two years before becoming LA's first black Superior Court commissioner. Later, he became a Superior Court judge. At 92, he's still hearing arbitration cases and has a new calling: a USC mentoring program for at-risk kids who can't read and write. Off-Ramp host John Rabe spoke with Judge Reese at his law office.

Dylan Thomas and Dylan Brody, or "A Child's Secular Christmas in America"

A Christmas story from Dylan Brody, the playwright, humorist, author, and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. (The story was recorded at Friday Entertainment and The Improvisation in Hollywood, and appears on Brody's CD "True Enough.")

Ted Soqui captures Time's 'Protester' image for 'Person of the Year'

The image used to represent protesters for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” is of a local woman, Sarah Mason of Highland. It was captured by freelance photographer Ted Soqui and then posterized by Shepard Fairey for the magazine cover.

"The Artist" actor Penelope Ann Miller talks with Off-Ramp

The black-and-white silent film "The Artist" earned a leading six nominations Thursday for the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards, including a nod for best musical/comedy motion picture. Off-Ramp host John Rabe talks with actor Penelope Ann Miller, who plays Doris in "The Artist."

Happy 100th, Stan Kenton, musical pioneer and educator

Today would have been Stan Kenton's 100th birthday. To celebrate the musical accomplishments of this polarizing figure, Off-Ramp aired a loving appreciation from jazz historian Steven Harris.

More from the Westways time machine

I'm mining this old Westways (part one of the December 1954 edition), found at the Sunset Junction Circus of Books among a trove of ephemera, for items of interest to me, and, I hope, you.

Time machine opened for holiday shopping

Here's a page - literally - right out of history, from a cache of Westways I found at Circus of Books at Sunset Junction the other day.

A county courthouse ... in lowly Cypress Park?

(LA County's Mental Health Courthouse, 1150 N. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles. Credit: Jon Regardie)

Scandal in San Fernando

The city of San Fernando may beat Bell for sheer soap opera quality. At a city council meeting, with his wife in the front row, the mayor recently admitted he was dating a councilwoman -- violating his marriage vows and the Brown Act. Off-Ramp host John Rabe spoke with San Fernando Valley Sun editor Diana Martinez, who says the admission is emblematic of much deeper governance problems in the city.

Violinist remembers posing for huge freeway mural, and Kent Twitchell recalls painting it

If you drive the Harbor Freeway, you've seen Julie Gigante, the LA Chamber Orchestra violinist. You can't miss her. She's eight stories high. She's one of the most prominent LACO members depicted in Kent Twitchell's mural, "Harbor Freeway Overture," which was begun twenty years ago. Gigante is still with LACO, and until just the other day when she talked with Off-Ramp host John Rabe, hadn't stood at the foot on the mural. Rabe also talked with Twitchell, who is still proud of his monument to the musical artists.

Bert Stern and Marilyn Monroe's last session - new from Taschen

Marilyn Monroe didn't become an icon on her own. She had co-conspirators -- the photographers whose cameras loved her. Taschen has just published a huge new book of Monroe's last portrait sitting, taken for Vogue magazine by Bert Stern just six weeks before she died. Stern and Monroe worked together for three days at the Hotel Bel Air, which is where Tachen unveiled the new book. Bert Stern was the guest of honor and he talked with Off-Ramp host John Rabe.

"Man Cave," "I know, right?" -- Word Banishment nominations close soon

Every year, Lake Superior State University in Soo MI banishes words and phrases from the English language. Stuff like "de-plane" (1981), "dawg" (2006), "giving 110%" (1998), and "bottom line" (1979 and 1992). This year, LSSU's Tom Pink told KPCC's John Rabe, the nominations include "not gonna lie;" "I know, right?;" "game-changer;" "flash mob;" "Californicate," and "man cave." But there's still room for more, from you. Deadline: Dec 15.

Donovan finally in Rock Hall of Fame

For some reason folk-rocker Donovan has only just been named as one of the next inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.