Hartley Miller’s Slap-Shots – Friday, April 3, 2015
“Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness. And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy… or they become legend.” Jim Harrison
He was the Gordie Howe of Prince George media.
Ben Meisner was a legend, an icon, a pioneer who was a fixture in P.G. broadcasting for many decades. Just like Howe, Meisner’s consistency and longevity put him in a class by himself, never afraid of throwing an odd elbow to keep any distractors in line.
On the air in his domain as a talk show host behind a microphone, “Gentle” Ben may have appeared cantankerous, belligerent or gruff at times, but underneath that exterior was a warm, caring, friendly family man that enjoyed each day to its fullest. He touched many lives with an outgoing personality. He always strived to do what was in the best interest of the public and his community.
Ben lost his biggest bout with cancer but not before putting up a strong battle. The odds were not in his favor, but Ben never backed down from a fight. It simply was not in his vocabulary to quit.
Prince George was his home and he was damn proud of it. Moreover, he loved the clean air and environment that living in the “Hart” provided and that may be appropriate since Ben had such a big heart.
The secret to Ben’s distinguished 60-year career was an ability to relate and stick up for the common every day man or woman that lives next door even when the obstacles appear overwhelming. He understood and appreciated the difficulties of red tape and supporting a family on 40 grand or less a year.
Ben made it his policy to hold politicians, community leaders and decision makers “feet to fire.” Many elected officials were on edge going one on one with Ben, who specialized in interviews and commentaries where he looked the guest straight in the eye, asking the tough questions that the public wanted an answer to. Ben had a knack to expose the truth and not accept stand pat scripted cliché answers.
The good politicians held the highest of respect for Ben fully aware he was a master of his craft. After some 25 years as a staple with CKPG, Ben Meisner, along with his news savvy wife Elaine, started 250 News in 2005. The 10th anniversary of their highly successful news website is next month in May.
I have been writing a weekly column for nearly 10 years and it is not a co-incidence that my tenure began when 250 started.
I never thought of myself as a columnist, since I had no training in that field, but Ben helped change my mind. He called and said he had a proposal for me. Ben said his website needed sports with a “bite” and with my long history with CJCI/94.3/Vista radio, asked if I would write a no holds barred sports column/editorial where anything and everything is a go. There were no restrictions, just fly at it; carte blanche. He believed in my ability even though I wasn’t sure I was suited for this kind of endeavour. For eight years, I contributed to 250 and continue to follow a similar path on the myprincegeorgenow.com (Vista radio) website, in addition to appearing in the Prince George Free Press.
I have appreciated the opportunity and the privilege that comes with expressing my views in print and on line. I have been one of the lucky ones to be able to voice my thoughts and concerns on a wide variety of topics, here at home and abroad. I thanked Ben for that as he helped instill a confidence that allowed me to move forward.
Ben was your everyday Monday morning quarterback sports fan. He had a soft spot for his favorite team, the Prince George Cougars. He also was a great lover of the outdoors who appreciated nature and the peacefulness it provides. Ben was no different than anyone else. He was a dog lover who adored his best friend/wife Elaine and naturally his children, grand children and entire family.
Sure, he loved to speak, but Ben was also a good listener who enjoyed a spirited debate. I am not sure I know anybody that had such a wide and varied circle of friends. Ben cared and followed up his words of wisdom by being the first to back up a buddy.
He truly was one of a kind, just like Gordie Howe, old school, proud, respected, a multi-award winner who enjoyed the competitiveness of getting his nose dirty. Yes, Ben Meisner was the simply the best of his era.
I’m Miller and that’s one man’s opinion.