Al Benson: The Godfather of Chicago Black Radio

Brief video documentary of the life and death of Al Benson. Several interviews are highlighted but all the video is of photographs.

0:00Copy video clip URL Color bars.

0:46Copy video clip URL Title screen fades into black and white photograph. A man introduces Al Benson as the “Godfather of Black Radio.” A woman then talks about other Black DJs before Al Benson namely Jack L. Cooper and Eddie Honesty. She then talks about how Al Benson was the one who actually caused the explosion of Black ethnic radio.

2:30Copy video clip URL Interview with Ernie Leaner. There are advertisements, photos, and newspaper clippings overlaid with the audio of Leaner’s voice.

3:50Copy video clip URL Sid McCoy talks about how he met Al Benson.

4:23Copy video clip URL A woman talks about a book called “The Death of Rhythm and Blues,” written by George Nelson and how radio was color blind.

6:28Copy video clip URL Photographs with overlay of Al Benson talking about how he identified himself as Black.

7:25Copy video clip URL Al Raglin talks about Al Benson and how he was distinctly a Black personality.

8:21 The man and woman narrators talk about how he expanded his holdings and brought to the DJ spotlight such people as Vivian Carter, Sam Evans, McGee Fitzhue, Lucky Cordell, Herb Kent, Rick Ricardo, and Roy Wood. They also talk about how Benson highlighted certain bands within his show and thus changed the topography of Chicago music. Some of the artists that Benson promoted were Muddy Waters, Andrew Tibbs, Howling Wolf, Little Walter, Big Maybelle, Willie Maybon, Willie Dixon, Charles Brown, The Temptations, and the Supremes.

9:20Copy video clip URL Photographs with overlay of Al Benson’s voice. He talks about how he introduced new musical groups to Chicago.

11:23Copy video clip URL Cut to title screen and then the credits roll.

12:35Copy video clip URL Video ends.



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