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

New "Sherlock Holmes" movie exciting, reasonably Canonical

I am something of a Sherlock Holmes geek. Not as deeply involved as some, but I’m probably in the top percentile of all US citizens. I come by it honestly and by pedigree, my father, WT Rabe, having been a very active Sherlockian from at least the 1940s to his death in 1992.

Rabe to Cormac McCarthy: “You’re a typewriter traitor!”

“Cormac’s a softy,” said Rabe through his cigar as he pounded out yet another audience-favorite Off-Ramp episode on his faithful Hermes Rocket. He had just heard the news that Cormac McCarthy is giving up the Olivetti Lettera 32 that he’s been using since 1963 to write books like “The Road” and “Blood Meridian.

“The Face Bra” news release -- is it for real?

Every day, I delete hundreds of e-mails pitching interviews with experts, wonks, authors, politicians (County Supervisor Mike Antonovich doesn’t get it that when you send out ten e-mails a day, journalists will not look at any of them, but if you send out one a week, we may actually read them), and charlatans.

If You're Going to Speculate about Tiger Woods, Chinese TV says "Go Big or Stay Home."

Thanks to my colleague Rob Schmitz, KQED’s LA bureau chief for passing along this video.

Big Changes for the LA DWP Festival of Lights

Don’t expect to drive through the LA DWP Festival of Lights for a few more weeks. The DWP is stressing greenity this year, with a bike night preview and two weeks where NO vehicles will be allowed.

To: Media. Re: Tiger. "Stop It. It’s not news. Not yet. Maybe never."

Are you as disturbed as I am about the feeding frenzy over Tiger Woods’ car accident this weekend? The LA Times and the NY Times are both engaging in it, when they should leave it to the National Enquirer and TMZ.

El Secreto del Gringo Mariachi, Mateo Stoneman

Remember Mateo Stoneman, the white mariachi with the voice of an angel, who made his Off-Ramp debut back in March 2008?

Charles Phoenix and America’s Leftovers

Off-Ramp contributor Charles Phoenix is a treasure.

Reasons to be Cheerful, from Michael Sigman

My friend Michael Sigman honored us by asking for “best of Off-Ramp” nominations for his series of “Reasons to be Cheerful” on his Huffington Post Blog.

Truman Capote’s “The Thanksgiving Visitor”

I love this story. Here’s a television adaptation of Truman Capote’s "The Thanksgiving Visitor," starring Geraldine Page as Sook and Michael Kearney as Buddy. Capote's voice always shocks me a little at first, then I get used to it.

Watch AND listen to Shackleton documentaries

This week on Off-Ramp, we’re broadcasting my NPR documentary, “Walking Out of History,” which uses the voices of the survivors of Shackleton’s “Endurance” expedition, mixed with readings from crew memoirs and diaries, and interviews with modern day explorers Ann Bancroft and Will Steger.

Off-Ramp Web Special: Foodies on Thanksgiving

The great chefs of Los Angeles tell us what's on their Thanksgiving menu this year, plus Pigtails & Sauerkraut, a Wiley Family tradition.

Big Scary Waves off the coast of France

As you can tell by this week's Off-Ramp, which tells the story of Shackleton's "Endurance" expedition, I like big weather. In the right conditions, I even like being in it. But THIS I prefer to view second-hand:

Mary Poppins Opens at the Ahmanson

"Mary Poppins," the smash stage musical of the beloved musical film, opened at the Ahmanson this weekend, and Off-Ramp was there to talk with co-director and choreographer Matthew Bourne; song and dance man Gavin Lee, who plays "Bert;" and Carter Thomas, a Glendalian who is one of the "Michael Banks;" and we hear the original and new songwriters -- performing live and spontaneously at the after-party -- tell how they wrote "Jolly Holiday" and "Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious." The audio is a special web-only edition, only lightly edited for your enjoyment. Come inside to see Dick Van Dyke -- the original Bert -- take a bow and enjoy his ovation.

Still looking for Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas? John Rabe asks the best chefs in LA.

I’ve begun an Off-Ramp web page featuring interviews with foodies like Providence owner/chef Michael Cimarusti and LA Times food editor Russ Parsons. They give us some great Thanksgiving food ideas, and reminisce about their best and worst Thanksgivings.