Most of us learned who Ben McKinnon was by listening to Tommy Charles, one of the great DJ’s on WSGN-AM 610 radio here in Birmingham back in the 60’s. Ben was the Vice President and General Manager of WSGN at the time, later retiring as President of WSGN in 1982. Under Mr. McKinnon, WSGN became one of the top rock ‘n roll stations in the country.
Ben’s education includes graduating from USNR Midshipman School at Columbia University, an AB degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina, and graduating from Presbyterian Junior College.
Mr. McKinnon has an extensive and varied career history: Lt. Sr. Grade in the U.S. Navy earning Battle Stars from France and Okinawa, editor of Robeson County Hometown Newspapers, Public Relations Director for Carolina Motor Club, Sales Manager of WBT Radio in Charlotte, NC, General Manager of WGVL-TV in Greenville, SC, and then his work at WSGN. Ben has just completed three years as Commander of the VFW Kelly Ingram Post 668 here in Birmingham.
Ben has accumulated many accolades in radio, advertising, and community service – among them the South Carolina Broadcasters Silver Plate Award; Governor (7th District) of the American Advertising Federation; a Birmingham Ad Federation Silver Medal Winner; an Alabama Broadcasters Association Broadcaster of the Year; and the NAB 2000 Executive of the Year.
Mr. McKinnon has been a Board member of the Birmingham Better Business Bureau, the Jefferson County March of Dimes, and the Birmingham Metro Chamber of Commerce, has served as President of the Jefferson County Chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Birmingham Advertising Club, and the Alabama Broadcasters Association, was an Executive Director of the Alabama Broadcasters Association, and is also an Elder in his Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church.
BRC honors Ben McKinnon for his contributions to Birmingham radio through his years with WSGN.