Ben Fry serves up media
KUAR General Manager Ben Fry sits in his office, movie posters adorning the walls and a hand-written copy of the radio station’s mission statement hangs on the side of a file cabinet. He turns down the radio as he starts answering questions.
“I like being a general manager because I get to do a lot of different types of things,” he says. “Working on computers to developing new programs to hosting special events.”
Fry earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from UALR in 1987 and a master’s degree in journalism in 1998.
He started at KUAR in 1988 as the news and information director, after working for KARN during college. In 1994, he became the program director and was promoted to general manager in 1995.
Fry got his radio start at the age of 16, then a high school student in his hometown of Wynne, Ark.
“Growing up I was always interested in the media—movies, television and radio,” he said.
The local radio station called his school inquiring about students, and a secretary referred him to Fry and a friend.
“We interviewed for part-time jobs and started that weekend,” he said. “I’ve been working in radio ever since.”
He has won a few awards for his work, mostly for news programming.
“My greatest honor was a couple of national awards I received for a radio documentary I directed called “From Spiritual to Symphony,” about Florence Smith Price, an Arkansan who was the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra.”
Aside from love of radio, Fry also is interested in movies. He teaches film classes at UALR and helps coordinate the film minor. He does a movie review show called “Home Fry-ed Movies,” where he discusses a movie.
“As part of the design of the show, the theater department built us a set that looks like an old greasy diner, and I wear an apron and cook up some pretend food,” he says. “For each movie, I present a ‘recipe’—the things that make that movie what it is.”
“Home Fry-ed Movies” is produced nine to 10 times per year.
Fry also enjoys writing, and has been writing short-stories and other things since childhood. He’s also written a draft of a novel and several unproduced screenplays.
“One of the things I like about writing screenplays is that when you get to page 120, you need to wrap it up,” he said. “Finishing a screenplay is a lot easier than finishing a novel.”
Fry plans to continue his radio career, and hopes to one day produce a screenplay.
“Maybe I can make that happen with the right screenplay, the right group of people and some investors.”