BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Whether or not you've met Ben Downs, you're sure to recognize his voice. He's been doing radio for 50 years.
"I started in Hope, Arkansas, along side Governor Mike Huckabee," said Downs.
"He wasn't governor back then. We were just two guys I never would have trusted the keys to the building to."
Since those early days, Ben has gone on to have a prosperous radio career. As the General Manager of Bryan Broadcasting, he's seen the Brazos Valley grow. He's also made sure that the group of radio stations he oversees stays active and involved in the community.
"We've provided a way to bring a lot of people together through the media,' Downs shared. He and Bryan Broadcasting commit themselves to thousands of community service hours, either through on-air spots or volunteering. Through all of those times volunteering, Downs said he never gets tired of trying to make peoples lives better.
"During one of the toy drives, there was a guy unloading the toys he had previously received from his car. I go over to the man asked if there was something wrong? He said, 'No the toys are great, but this has been a really tough year for our family. What the kids really need are clothes and shoes. So, can I bring the toys back and trade them for clothes and shoes?' That's when you realize these are people who work and just have a bad run of luck," Downs said.
Ben knows that family is at the heart of service. It's something that he practices personally. His family has been right by his side throughout his career.
"My son, whenever we would try to do fundraising at the mall, he would be the one holding the plate for people to put their contributions in. My daughter has done just about every Santa event that I've ever done with me." Downs said.
It's that desire of helping neighbors that Ben believes radio capitalizes on. Sometimes that help comes in the form of a big, red suit. His wife Lily has been there every time.
"We've been married 41 years, and I've never got in the Santa suit yet that she wasn't the one who was putting it on me," said Downs.
Through it all, Ben has never lost his sense of humor.
"I've always said 'if it eats up a lot of time and pays nothing I'm your guy'."