November 15, 2013

FRONTLINE's Michael Kirk

Michael Kirk

Marcia Franklin talks with Michael Kirk, an Idahoan and producer/director for Frontline on PBS, the network's premier documentary series. Kirk, who began his broadcast career at KUID, Idaho Public Television's station in Moscow, Idaho, has been with Frontline since its inception in 1983. He's produced over 200 national television programs and is the recipient of every major award in journalism. In December, 2013, Kirk will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Idaho, his alma mater.

Franklin talks with Kirk about his most recent documentary for Frontline, "League of Denial," which examines an alleged cover-up by the NFL about the numbers and severity of concussion-related injuries in professional football. The program garnered national attention when ESPN, an original partner in the documentary, pulled out of the collaboration.

Kirk talks about why he wanted to make the documentary, what he learned, whether he would want his children playing the sport, and what he thinks will happen to football in the future. Franklin also plays a clip of one of Kirk's documentaries from KUID and asks him how his time there influenced his creative work.

In a web extra available online at, Kirk and Franklin continue their conversation, focusing on how he researches and produces his programs, and discussing his next documentary for Frontline, "The United States of Secrets."