There are 18 guitars in Frank Radice's 18th-floor office at 30 Rock in New York. And rock he has, both on stage and in the television news and promotions industries for three decades. Radice—or “Rock 'n' Roll Radice,” as he was known in his early days as a producer at ABC News—has shaped news production and promotions at ABC, CNN, CBS and NBC. Now, as senior VP, advertising and promotions, The NBC Agency, Radice is exercising his flare for entertainment.
An accomplished musician, having studied guitar since age 10 and jammed with the likes of Steven Tyler, Radice credits a series of serendipitous encounters with shaping his varied career. “When things happen to you in your career that are bigger than what you're doing, those are the milestones that allow you to go further,” he says. “Most people only have that happen to them once. I've had it happen to me a number of times, and I consider myself the luckiest guy.”
Radice was an astrophysics major at the University of Maryland when he began taking courses in television, imagining they would overlap with his interest in photography. It was, he says, an “epiphany.”
“I Found My Career”
“I found my job, I found my life, I found my career,” he says. Less than a year before he would have earned his bachelor's degree, Radice left school to be a film editor at the NBC-owned WRC Washington, after a station employee (and frequent patron of Radice's brother's bar) mentioned the opening.
Radice caught the producing bug while covering Watergate, and leapt to ABC in 1973. For the next 11 years, he worked in ABC's news division, editing and producing on everything from Good Morning America to Nightline, where he became the go-to producer for covering hot zones such as Nicaragua and Panama.
After moving to late-night show The Last Word, he left ABC for stints on Entertainment Tonight and back at WRC. When a friend at CNN offered him the chance to launch a live entertainment program on the nascent network in 1987, Radice jumped.
He was back at ABC in 1989 to work on a joint venture with Apple to create, produce and sell educational laser disks using the ABC library. (The project folded after a year and a half of slow sales.)
Radice then began producing ABC News promotions, finding the perfect vehicle for his love of entertainment and news. “To a certain extent, it's still journalism,” he says of news promos. “There needs to be a certain amount of showmanship to get people into the tent.”
Radice took another production job at WCBS New York, where he crafted promos for Brian Williams before the anchor left for NBC. Radice moved to NBC promotions in 1996 and later helped launch The NBC Agency as VP.
With NBC News, Saturday Night Live, Late Night WithConan O'Brien and the network's specials on his plate, Radice is looking to integrate promotions for all of the NBC Universal TV assets. Current projects include welcoming Meredith Vieira to Today, celebrating MSNBC's 10th year and nurturing NBC's digital offerings.
A Tech Nerd and Scribe
NBC News President Steve Capus says that Radice's background in production and entertainment helps him see “the playing field from many different angles,” adding that Radice is “setting the standard for news promotion.”
A self-described tech nerd, Radice serves on NBC News' digital task force and the integration team for the recently acquired online portal iVillage. He's also working on his second book, a sequel to children's pop-up book Sam Katz on the Loose, based on his own cat.
And those guitars in his office aren't just gathering dust. Radice still performs regularly around New York with his band, Radman, and composes music for NBC News programs, often recording in the corner of his office. Indeed, the “America's First Family” theme for Today is a Radice original.
“I love what I do,” he says. “And every time I get to do more, it just makes me happier.”