Gentle Ben

Gentle Ben

What do you say about somebody who's been in broadcasting for thirty years? Too lazy to work, and too scared to steal, I guess!

No, seriously, Gentle Ben has been in Wichita broadcasting for thirty years (as of 2021); and, I guess you could say it has been a lifelong dream of his. Ben was nine years old when his mom and dad got him a brand new red & white 3" reel-to-reel tape recorder for Christmas, 1965. Ben's mom had four radios in the house and they were all tuned to KFDI AM 1070.... and you didn't mess with them! But, Ben grew up listening to country music both on the radio, and on record (his dad had an extensive record collection).

So, from the time he got that reel-to-reel tape recorder for Christmas - and for the next several years - he would set that recorder up in the living room next to dad's stereo cabinet (the mahogany old wood style stereo that looked like furniture and weighed 400 lbs.) and pretend he was a KFDI Ranch Hand. Ben would cue a song up on one of his dad's albums, turn the reel-to-reel on, introduce the song, and then play it. And, he would do that for hours on end.

Ben was a Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy; he was a licensed mortician; and a few other things....

But his first love was, and always has been, country music. Ol' Mike Oatman took Gentle Ben on as the newest Ranch Hand in 1991. He was at KFDI AM for 18 1/2 years, until 2009. After that, Ben went on the air at US 107.9, where he remains to this day, working for Mike and Tina. He's had many mentors over the years, including Ol' Mike, Donnie Do-Dad, Buddy Nichols, Terry Burford, and Johnny Western, among others.

Oh, and remember that reel-to-reel tape recorder? Well....

Ben's mom passed away in January, 2007. He was helping his sis with cleaning the house out and getting everything ready for auction. One Saturday, while Ben was cleaning out his mom's old buffet, his sister Linda came walking into the room with a baggie and said, "I have no idea what these are." As Ben wiped tears from his eyes, he looked at a baggie full of 3" tape reels. Mom had saved those reels all those years; and Ben thinks the good Lord had something to do with it, too. Oh, yes; you bet he had all of it digitally transferred to disc and hard drive. Little "Gentle" Ben will live forever....

So, as another of Ben's radio heroes used to always say.... "and now you know the rest of the story!"

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