Jason Fraley

Jason Fraley

Entertainment Editor

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history” (and the year any movie came out, ever), Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, became the film critic in 2011, and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

Growing up in Frederick, Maryland, Jason watched Arch Campbell’s movie reviews and made home movies with his twin brother Josh. Under the “Friday Night Lights” of Linganore High, Jason led Hall of Fame coach Rick Conner’s inaugural team to the state title game at Ravens Stadium, during which a sideline interview by The Frederick News-Post inspired him to intern at his hometown paper.

He quickly switched from sports journalism to the arts after interning at USA Today’s “Life” section and training under The Baltimore Sun’s Michael Sragow, first regular critic for Rolling Stone. Jason earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland, where he became obsessed with film theory under Professor Joseph Miller, followed by an M.F.A. in Film from American University, where he studied writing and directing under Claudia Myers and Gilles Wheeler.

Along the way, he took obsessive notes on hundreds of movie classics, founding the film appreciation website The Film Spectrum, which The Washington Post hailed for its “spirited reviews with the ethos of a true film aficionado.” For this, he was asked to emcee the AFI DOCS tribute to Roger Ebert and to teach introductory film theory courses at AU.

At WTOP, Jason has won an Society of Professional Journalists award for his “Gravity” review and an Associated Press award for his feature “Keeping the Drive-In Alive.” His list of celebrity interviews is endless, from red carpets with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman, to one-on-one chats with William Friedkin, Aretha Franklin, Berry Gordy, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Larry King, Jon Stewart, Dick Cavett and Spike Lee, not to mention backstage with Leo DiCaprio at the 2016 Oscars.

Jason began making TV appearances on “The Arch Campbell Show,” continuing as a guest on NBC-4 and ABC-7 on various programs from “Let’s Talk Live” to “Picture Lock.” He also hosts the weekly podcast “Capital Culture” with WTOP’s Rachel Nania, covering arts, culture, food, lifestyle, movies, music and theatre.

In his spare time, Jason dabbles in filmmaking, having written six screenplays, including his debut “Cinemagic,” which made the Top 10% of the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships, and having directed several shorts in film festivals from New York to Chicago to New Mexico, including “Liberty Road,” which won a CINE Golden Eagle Award. He also enjoys picking crabs, watching “Seinfeld,” rooting for the Redskins and Orioles, and turning triple plays on the WTOP softball team.

Jason can be reached at jfraley@wtop.com or on Twitter @JFrayWTOP.

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