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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Conversation with Detroit’s Hometown Radio Personality: Frank Beckmann

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Meet Frank Beckmann, Detroit’s hometown personality and host of the “Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM radio inDetroit.  Frank Beckmann brings his 39 years of broadcasting experience to WJR’s highly-rated show.  We chatted with Frank about his show and his life in radio.

Tell us about your background.  How long have you been in radio, how did you get your start, and what do you love about radio?

I was the youngest newsman ever hired by WJR at the age of 22 in 1972.  I had been in radio in various smaller market jobs for three years before that doing mostly news and got my first job at a station in Alpena,Michigan.  I love the immediacy of radio, something that has not been lost despite the advent of satellite TV news coverage and the internet.   In fact, those developments actually assist us in talk radio to stay on top of breaking stories.

Tell us about your show. What do you like to cover, who is your audience, what is your mission?

Our show covers anything and everything we find interesting in the news.  We obviously stay on top of the most relevant stories but are also cognizant that there is more to life, and listener interest, than hard news, so we also cover entertainment and sports.  That said,  our main focus is the major news of the day.  While I am conservative, I find it exhilarating to engage in lively discussions with people who hold other points of view and we try to include them in interviews whenever they are willing to discuss these issues.  It’s disappointing that some on the left choose not to do so but that’s their choice, rooted in a wish (in my opinion) not to be challenged.  My goal is to keep my audience the best informed in radio and to do that, I believe, a host has to provide every argument and be prepared to support his own views with facts, just as I expect my guests to do.  Our audience skews conservative but cuts across every demographic and political group as evidenced by the calls we get from our listeners when we open the phone lines.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever interviewed on the show?

This may surprise you, but the most interesting people I’ve interviewed are not necessarily the biggest names like Presidents and Vice Presidents.  My conversations with astronaut Jerry Linenger about life aboard the MIR space station have been compelling as have my chats with Homer Hickam, the original “Rocket Boys” scientist who not only has interests in NASA, where he worked, but also in the coal industry of his native West Virginia and his favorite hobby of dinosaur fossil hunting.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve experienced on your show?

My biggest surprise on the show has been the lack of real knowledge on issues of our political leaders.  I’ve found too many of them to be insulated from facts that don’t coincide with their own ideology or the lobbyists that have their ear.

Who is the man behind the microphone?

I’m a guy who’s been cursed and blessed with an intense curiosity.  It’s a curse because it never allows me to shut off my brain. I’m always looking for one more angle or one more tidbit of information to increase my knowledge of the issues I cover.  It’s a blessing because I believe it makes me better informed and, as a result, gets the audience more information which is the ultimate goal of the program: to keep our audience the best informed in all of radio.

Frank brings his easy, laid-back humor to News/Talk 760 WJR radio listeners every morning between 9:00 a.m. and noon.  Even if you’re not in Detroit, you can listen to Frank’s show via the station’s stream at www.wjr.com/.  Tune in…

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