Ben Freedman, Ken Deutsch, Noreen Freedman and Linda Deutsch in Toronto, 1988
Ben Freedman (1949-2013) passed away recently at age 63. He had a radio ID jingle company called CPMG, which for a long time, was run out of his house in Buffalo, N.Y. From his cramped attic he managed to sell product around the world, and our singers sang most of it in our studios in Toledo, Ohio. I worked with Ben from 1980 until 1996 when we parted ways professionally.
But for 16 years we had a good working relationship, and Ben was always enthusiastic. Sometimes he went overboard, as in his ALL CAPS faxes and his off-tune singing to me over the phone and on cassette, trying to explain exactly what he wanted our singers to do on a given project. But his heart was definitely in jingles, and he wanted to create them for every radio station on the planet. While he didn’t quite reach that goal, he did set up a network of sales people in many countries, and we had a good time sorting out the local pronunciations. What’s the word for “good morning” in Japanese? We took a good shot at it.
Eventually Ben relocated to Dallas, where the most experienced jingle singers can be found. At various times he hung his hat at Thompson Creative, Century 21 and a few other ID companies along the way. He formed alliances with many industry people and these connections always seemed to pay off in orders. His friendship with jingle pioneer Tommy Gwinn led to Ben’s marketing of Gwinsound jingles internationally.
In recent years the jingle industry has shrunk drastically, so Ben returned to his roots, working out of his home to try to make it profitable. Dallas’ best vocal talent would gather in his small studio for sessions, as Ben changed his business model to fit the times. (He also sold a ton of CDs of generic jingles to stations and collectors.)
Even though we didn’t work together in recent years, we always stayed in touch via email, and when Ben’s health turned bad, I was on the phone with him to check his progress. Ben Freedman always had big plans, and the deal he was most interested in was the one that was coming up next.
Somewhere in the sky, Ben is up there singing right along with the chorus of jingle alumni who preceded him in death. So long, Ben, and more music more often!
Ken Deutsch has moved from the Midwest to sunny Sarasota, Fla. where he enjoys not shoveling snow.