Dead Air

Past-life regression, psychic predictions and paranormal palaver: For 11 years, KTAR radio host Frank Baranowski has spooked his occult following

"Frank is very eccentric and very dramatic, but I'm a Leo, so I love people like that," Dawn says. "He's very expressive. When he's talking with you, he's right there. And I can see how a lot of people would be intimidated by that. But, to me, he's got a big energy and lots of love.

"And I've come to realize that a lot of internationally best-selling authors are very familiar with him and his work," Dawn adds. "I've had people call me and request that they be on his show."

Though "Mysteries Around Us" is often compared to the now-defunct program hosted by Art Bell (even KTAR's Web site makes the comparison), Dawn considers Baranowski's show more accessible.

Captain fantastic: Baranowski at his home-based office, where he performs about 20 past-life regressions a week.
Paolo Vescia
Captain fantastic: Baranowski at his home-based office, where he performs about 20 past-life regressions a week.

"I didn't always understand Art, but I understand Frank," she says. "Frank just knows what people are interested in. Art would get really out there. I don't understand all the UFO stuff, and he was really into it. It's just not my area."

It's one of Baranowski's charms that he can bring a common touch to even the most far-out material. When a listener named Rocky calls in for psychic advice from Taylor, Baranowski jokingly asks if the caller's last name is Balboa. He then launches into an earnest discussion of how important the movie Rocky was to America in the late '70s. Another time, he responds to a professed healer's description of speaking with God by saying that it reminds him of the George Burns film vehicle Oh, God!.

The affection that flows back and forth between Baranowski and his audience was illustrated last February when a false rumor started floating around that he had a brain tumor and was knocking on heaven's door. Listeners flooded his house with flowers and the phone didn't stop ringing for days.

"He's special, he's different," Taylor says. "He's had a hard life with this type of lifestyle. Spirituality and psychic intuitiveness were not welcomed when he was 40 years younger. They weren't welcomed 20 years ago for me. So I give him a lot of credit for that. And I feel very honored that he asked me on his radio show."

Ask Baranowski about such issues, and he slips into the practiced thespian timbre that radio listeners love him for. With an incongruous but strangely riveting Shatner-esque sense of drama, the Valley's greatest advocate for reincarnation softly intones: "It's . . . been . . . quite a lifetime."

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