Ben Franklin, Oral History (part 03)


1948-Ben Franklin inside WJLD Bess Sup Hwy .jpg
BF-3 snip.mp3
Ben Franklin 3.pdf


Ben Franklin, Oral History (part 03)


Engineer Ben Franklin (Ben) continues in this November 4th, 1993 interview recounting his stories of early Birmingham radio.


Ben Franklin
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


November 04, 1993


Hannah Moore
Emily Bibb






Bob Friedman


Ben Franklin


Transcript of audio snippet:

Ben: There was some kind of legal angle that Johnston left that building down yonder on that Super Highway vacant and didn’t even try to rent it for 4 or 5 years.
Bob- mmhm.
Ben- They said that he made money on it.
Bob- mmhm.
Ben- Some way or another. It..
Bob- he declared a loss or whatever..
Ben- Yeah. The loss was, anyhow, Uh but Gaston is the same way. Mmhm. And
um. They bought an old transmitter from Memphis and um, WQBC the one on
560, It was an old transmitter, shouldn’t have bought it…Claude Gray talked him
into it because he liked it and he thought was the thing to do, he was honest, but
um when um Kirkwood Balton found out it was so big and wouldn’t go in the
building they had it out there and he didn’t want to put up a bigger building. So he
bought a new transmitter. And made the building just a little bit larger. And um
The old transmitter is sitting back there and I knew it was sitting back there and I
knew, I knew some people that had a transmitter lie that…
Bob- mmhm.
Ben- And I thought Well I’m gonna talk Balton to see how much he wants for it.
And uh, cause I knew some people that buy parts.
Bob- sure.
Be- You couldn’t get parts. So I called Balton up and I told him, I said, you got
that old RCA transmitter out there and uh He said yeah it’s out there - had coffins
piled up on top of it - right there in warehouse where the coffins are. And I said, I
tell you what Ill give you 100 dollars for it.


Full Interview: 32 minutes
Audio Snippet: 2 minutes


Ben Franklin and Bob Friedman, “Ben Franklin, Oral History (part 03),” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed September 27, 2022,

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