Ben Fry, a longtime manager of 89.1 KUAR and Classical 90.5 KLRE, died in his sleep early Thursday. He was 54.
Fry served as general manager of UALR Public Radio since 1995. He managed all aspects of administration and operations at KLRE and KUAR, including financial management, engineering, programming and fundraising.
He joined the UALR Public Radio staff in 1988 as News & Information Director and served as Program Director for one year prior to becoming general manager.
His broadcasting career began in his hometown of Wynne, Ark., where he worked weekends at the local radio station while he was still in high school. In 1980, he moved to central Arkansas to attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and got a part-time job with commercial radio station KARN as an announcer. By 1983, he had been promoted to a full-time position, as the station’s creative director, writing and producing commercials.
He received a bachelor’s degree in communications from the UALR in 1987 and a master’s degree in journalism in 1998.
Fry later became an adjunct professor in UALR’s School of Mass Communication, teaching classes in motion picture history, and criticism and screenwriting. He served as the school’s coordinator of film studies.
He made presentations about motion pictures at several local events and wrote articles about Arkansas film history for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. He hosted a movie show on UALR’s University Television, Home Fry-ed Movies, screening public domain movies and providing commentary.
Fry is survived by his wife, Karen, and his two children, Sarah and Sam.
“Ben had two children, Sarah and Sam, but he often joked that he had four: Sarah, Sam, KUAR, and KLRE. He was extremely dedicated to public radio and its mission. He challenged us all to think creatively and think strategically about the future of the stations. He also would joke that he loved to hire people who disagreed with him, because he wanted many viewpoints represented when it came to making key decisions about our approach to programming,” says Karen Tricot Steward, who serves as Content Development Director for the stations and worked with Fry for over 15 years.
Talk Business & Politics is a content partner with KUAR. You can read more about Fry’s life and career at this link.