Dec. 26, 1949 – Jan. 9, 2013
Benjamin R. Freedman, the Buffalo native known as “The Jingle Guy” because of the thousands of musical themes he created for radio stations and disc jockeys locally and around the world, died last Wednesday in Plano, Texas, after suffering a heart attack. He was 63.
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Freedman was playing drums with his own group, the Ball Bearings, when he was 12. Listening to radio stations in Buffalo and Rochester in summer camp, he became intrigued with station ID jingles.
He began his jingle-writing career when he was 14, writing songs for his cousin Fred Bock’s pirate radio station and recording them using neighborhood talent in his parents’ home in Amherst. While still attending Amherst High School, he was an afternoon and Saturday DJ on WYSL-FM.
Enrolling in Butler University in Indianapolis in 1968, he set up a full-time studio there for his company, WAY Productions. In Amherst, he recruited singers to form A Capellas Unlimited, which harmonized commercials and radio station promos.
By the mid-1970s, he was creating jingles for BBC Radio One and Radio Luxembourg from an elaborate studio he built in his own home in North Buffalo. He moved to Dallas in 1988 and was an executive for major jingle companies there until he formed his own company in 1995. According to his website, Ben Freedman Productions is “the oldest continuously operated radio ID jingle company on the planet.”
He moved back to the Buffalo area to be near his aging parents in 1997. While here, he created new jingle packages for Danny Neaverth and Tommy Shannon on WHTT 104 FM and established Jingle University online to teach newcomers the business.
Returning to Dallas about 10 years ago, he continued creating jingles part time and was a salesman for Scott Studios, which markets studio equipment.
In addition to jingles, he worked as a production manager for 25 years with his late father, Alan L. “Bud,” in Bergman Tool Manufacturing Co. on Niagara Street on Buffalo’s West Side, which made adjustable wrenches, pliers and other tools for mechanics and tradesmen.
Surviving are his wife of 27 years, the former Noreen Del Monte; two sons, Joshua and Ben Jr.; a daughter, Jessica Geiman; and a sister, Barbara Condrell. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
– Dale Anderson