For more than 30 years, Ben Manilla has been producing high-quality, nationally and internationally syndicated audio content - radio programs, podcasts, talk shows, documentaries, and music specials. He has won every major award in the audio world including the Peabody Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Major Armstrong Award, and the full sweep of Awards from the International Radio Festival.
His current projects range from America's longest-running Blues radio show (Elwood's Bluesmobile with Dan Aykroyd) to a weekly philosophical talk program produced in association with Stanford University (Philosophy Talk.) Other partners and clients have included the Library of Congress, NPR, the Walt Disney Company, the Experience Music Project, and the BBC.
Ben has directed talent including Whoopi Goldberg, James Earl Jones, Lisa Loeb, Kevin Bacon and Bill Clinton. Recent interviews include Malcolm Gladwell, John Grisham, Tom Waits, and Linda Ronstadt. Ben Manilla teaches radio journalism and podcasting at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism where he is Academic Coordinator for Audio.
What do you do best?
Tell stories in sound.
What makes you the best?
Smooth, seamless audio production that moves the listener through the story.
How will you stay the best?
By constantly pushing myself to take on new challenges.
What are your aspirations?
Personal: To embrace gratitude and continue to grow as a self-realized person.
Business: To create an international center for audio storytelling at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
What fascinates you?
Music of all sorts.
“If you just stay in one place long enough, people figure you’re supposed to be there.” Jerry Garcia who attributed it to Cary Grant.
The ones who make me laugh.
Big cities and remote country.
Tea Tree toothpicks
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Mighty Sparrow
Most challenging moment?
Back when I was a radio DJ, I was demoted from afternoons to evenings. It was hard to accept the “defeat.”
Also, starting my own production company after working for other people all my life.
Biggest disappointment – how will/did you overcome?
The cancellation of a public radio series I created, “The Loose Leaf Book Company.” I kept putting one foot in front of the other.
The Peabody Award for a series I produce with the Library of Congress.