By Hollis Wormsby
I have great respect for my memories of Art Franklin’s first stint as a news anchor in our local market. Frankin early on showed a commitment to being the kind of anchor who did not just report the news, but who in his off time chose to be a part of the community and a part of the quest to make the community a better place.
I can remember that in the days when he was an anchor before, it was not unusual to go to a candidates’ forum and find Franklin as one of the hosts for the evening. He took the time to visit elementary schools and talk to our children, and he lent his voice and his celebrity to countless banquets for countless organizations that he supported while he was here.
It was also true in those days that when a big story hit, we all waited in a way to hear Franklin’s take on the breaking news event of the moment. And I remember the countless times that I was proud as a Black man to see and hear a man represent our community in the way he did. But I also remember that he was a man who did the work.
When he reported a story, he did the additional work and frequently provided secondary highlights that made you see the story differently. And as a viewer when you watched Franklin tell a difficult story you felt the way that in addition to having thoroughly researched the story, he also legitimately felt the story he was telling. I once worked for a man who said, “People will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” When you watched Franklin tell a painful story you knew he cared, and that made you value what he shared even more.
When you take a look at his first week on air back in this market, it is testimony to the kind of professionalism he has always brought to the table.
From his one-on-one interview with former Birmingham Mayor, Richard Arrington, in which the Mayor shared perspectives I had not seen him share in years, to his one-on-one interview with Governor Bentley that covered a range of topics, he showed his mastery of the craft, and he reminded us of why he was once one of Birmingham’s media darlings before the bigger market callings of Atlanta stole him away.
I can say that for decades I have watched the morning show on Fox 6, with Mickey and the gang, but this past week I watched the Channel 42 morning show because of the return of Franklin and the excitement his return represented.
The local tv news ratings wars and personal loyalties will shift and shimmy as they are known to do, but in the midst of all that, it is a pleasure to be able to join the chorus of folks who have gone on record as saying welcome back Art.
Hollis Wormsby has served as a featured columnist for the Birmingham Times for more than 20 years. He is the former host of Talkback on 98.7 KISS FM, and the current host of Real Talk at 3p.m. on Saturday afternoons on 610AM, where you will find informed discussion and an opportunity to discuss issues of importance to the African American community here in Birmingham. You can also pick up Real Talk on the World Wide Web by going to:610.wagg.com and clicking on the Listen Live button.