In 1954, television was an exciting new medium. The
equipment was sometimes makeshift and every day was a
new experience in experimentation and pushing the limits of what
could be done to put quality, entertaining and enlightening television
on the air. In 1954, KRLD-TV which later became KDFW-TV, had been
on the air for five years.
It was in 1954 when the station hired a young man named Ben Molina.
Benny, as his friends call him, was hired as a studio hand, but his
love was floor directing or “stage managing” as it came to be known.
It was a job and a station he would retire from after forty years, only
to return to and continue to work part-time. Fifty-three years later,
Ben Molina is still part of the weekend studio crew and he is still an
inspiration to all KDFW-TV employees past and present.
Ben has met and worked with a half-dozen U.S. presidents during station
interviews. He was on hand for the Eisenhower funeral, and worked tirelessly
around the clock during the hours and days following the Kennedy assignation.
Prior to the mid-1970’s, KDFW produced and filmed hundreds of television
commercials for local advertisers such as Sanger-Harris, Zales jewelry and
dozens of automobile dealers. Ben was instrumental in re-tooling the floor crew duties and assignments when the station made the change to multiple hours of daily news coverage. He has also stage managed hundreds of parades through downtown Dallas and Fort Worth.
Outside of the station, Ben was a regular on CBS network television crews. For more than twenty years, Benny was the “white glove man” on the sidelines of all local Dallas Cowboys games. The white glove man is a position that notifies game officials when it is time for a “television time-out”, and indicates to officials when the commercials are over and the game is once again on air. Ben was also a CBS main-stay on crews in locations across the country including the Cotton Bowl, the Sun Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl.
In 1986, new portable satellite technology allowed KFDW to take its newscasts on the road in a big way. For the entire month of May, KDFW moved its entire anchor team, and dozens of support people, around to all corners of Texas, broadcasting newscasts live from a different city or remote location each night. It was one of the most ambitious projects in station history, and thousands of viewers followed along on the journey. And of course, Ben Molina was there managing crews and stage-managing newscasts.
For a period of time, Ben was an instructor at a Dallas’ Video Technical Institute where he passed along his knowledge and experience to students hoping to begin careers in broadcasting.
Long-time KDFW anchor Clarice Tinsley says, “Benny Molina is an anchor’s best ally. As stage manager he was always in control and efficiently relayed information from the producer. Last second changes were never a problem for Benny to handle. He handled newscasts and production shoots with the highest level of excellence.”
Ben lives in Dallas with his wife Beatrice. They have been married 49 years.