Dr. Robert A. Franklin
Dr. Robert A. Franklin has been selected WVAS-FM station manager, Alabama State University award-winning public radio station. Dr. Franklin comes to Alabama State University from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio where he served as Professor of Communication and General Manager of WCSU-FM, Central State University public radio.
Dr. Franklin is a broadcast educator, award-winning producer, and ground-breaking journalist. As the General Manager for WCSU-FM at Central State University, Dr. Franklin’s production portfolio contains examples of compelling programming, informative, in-depth interviews, and world-class documentaries designed to enlighten, educate, and inform the community. His body of work and his innumerable awards proves that he is a gifted and talented broadcast journalist. Recently, Dr. Franklin won the Best Documentary award at the 2018 Houston Black Film Festival for his film “Rise: Mickey Leland-World Citizen” and selected 2019 Educator of the Year by the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Along with tough issues, he has produced many award-winning radio and television productions revealing America’s unsung heroes. Dr. Franklin’s production, "The Elaine, Arkansas Race Riot of 1919" documentary featured ordinary people with extraordinary tales of inspiration. This award-winning production received the Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists’ Best Television Documentary Award and the National Association of Black Journalists’ Salute to Excellence Award
Through his inspirational leadership and dedicated service in the field of broadcasting for over 20 years, he has brought numerous “silent issues” to light, including hidden aspects of racism, poverty, youth violence and domestic violence. He makes these stories compelling, bringing them to the forefront of an audience. He presents issues in a unique way that empowers audiences to seek solutions. For example, in 2005, his four-part radio public affairs series on domestic violence stressed solutions and has resulted in a series of tapes available for educational presentations and for individual help. His stories always instill a sense of hope and a desire for greater involvement.
As the General Manager of WESM-FM at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Dr. Franklin developed innovative programs with his staff that brought recognition to the station and to the university. For example, Dr. Franklin provided, through radio, a reading services for the blind. In addition, due to his leadership, it was exciting for him to receive a “London Calling” telephone call from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that enabled his radio work to be aired on that international network. His recognition in many areas brought him the prestigious Joan Shorenstein Barone Congressional Journalism Fellowship, involving a one-year stint working in the halls of Congress. What is more important was his translation of that experience into a nationally recognized radio documentary that featured “Women in Congress.” WESM-FM was included in the Congressional Record as an example of why federal funding should support public radio.
As an educator, Dr. Franklin blends innovative, engaging learning in an atmosphere that encourages students to be their best. In communication courses, students receive an opportunity to present on topics that not only teach them about Black History, but they also learn to make their projects their own and take learning beyond the classroom. One of his class projects included student involvement in the community to complete a documentary on the genocide in Darfur. Another example was where students had the opportunity to research and produce public affairs programming on the impact of homelessness in Omaha, Nebraska. When building student programming, Dr. Franklin exhibits strong discipline in the planning, development, implementation, and coordination of the programs. He takes pride in his work and his passion for educating students shines through in his programs. He has impeccable leadership and mentoring skills that allow him to create exceptional students involved in programs that change communities.
He has engaged local groups to support community development using music from diverse populations. His teaching in China, contacts in South Africa and in Ethiopia, as well as his work for the homeless in Omaha, demonstrated his sensitivity and response to the needs of diverse peoples. He translates his concerns into action using the various media with his staff to move from theory into practice.
Dr. Franklin is highly motivated, well-organized, and works well with diverse constituencies. He establishes rapport easily among administrators, faculty, staff, and students. These skills afford him the opportunity to take the initiative to form collaborative relationships between multiple departments within the university and the community.
Dr. Franklin has been a strong role model for many of his staff, and he is patient with his students and mentees as he provides coaching and guidance. He has succeeded in creating enthusiasm among all who work alongside him. Through his university lectures and his journalism reaching national and international audiences, he is an exemplary educator indeed.
For more than 26 years, Dr. Franklin strives to make the community a better place through his award-winning programming, his commitment to educational excellence, and his tireless work throughout the community. The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument Educator of the Year award is a fitting tribute to his legacy as a PhD. graduate of Arkansas State University and a Masters of Arts and Bachelor of Science graduate of Jackson State University. Dr. Franklin's journey has allowed him to educate, empower, and give back to his community, for which he is extremely proud.