A Bay Area original, Franklin Mieuli was elected to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame in 2007 in recognition of his five decades in local broadcasting, as executive producer of the San Francisco 49ers and Giants on radio; as owner of the Warriors (having the vision to hire Bill King as the team’s play-by-play voice in 1962); as an innovator (launching the first broadcast tape duplication service in the United States, Hi*Speed Duplication); as a sports broadcast syndicator (Franklin Mieuli Associates); and as a station owner (KPUP/KHIP 106.9 FM).
Franklin passed away on April 25, 2010, at the age of 89. During an interview with the Bay Area Radio Digest in 1990, Bill King was asked to share his thoughts about his longtime friend and colleague:
“Sentimental” would be the first word I’d use to describe Franklin. A strong sense of loyalty and a strong feeling of liking to have people he knew he could trust around him. Franklin is almost a “Professional San Franciscan,” but it’s legitimate, it’s genuine, his love for San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Of course, one of the great things about Franklin was that convention was not a restriction to him. From when I first knew him, he was very conventional: white sidewall haircut, narrow ties, the whole thing. But when he let himself go in the early ‘Sixties, he really broke out.
I can remember when he was still very, and I quote, “legitimate.” He was the producer of Giants baseball and, before he became majority owner of the Warriors, he was involved in radio and TV negotiations as a small owner. But at one point in there I grew the beard, in 1962. It was a matter of curiosity. I took a two-week vacation during baseball season because I was number three and I wasn’t that vital. We were sailing down the coast and always I’d had just an idle curiosity what I’d look like in a beard.
When I came back, and remember, this was before the hippie era — before it was accepted for people to have facial hair — especially in the halls of sports and particularly in baseball and college sports where everybody had the squeaky-clean crew cuts and so on, they looked at you with great suspicion. And although I had the beard neatly trimmed, I told the station manager, “If it bothers you, don’t worry about it. I just did it for fun, but it looks pretty decent.” … Franklin, of course, had the perfect answer. He said, “Well, I can’t say I like it, but somethin’ had to be done!”
In the early years of his ownership with the Warriors, when he had more and more to do with it, we had a big beef. We had a limited television schedule; we only telecast seven games — the games we played against the Lakers in L.A. when the NBA only had ten teams. I was the Warrior broadcaster and supposedly the telecaster, too. Well, Channel 2 had such a problem with this beard thing that they were almost having a paroxysm:(effecting an authoritative voice) “We can’t have this on TV! We just cannot! It’s horrible!” And Franklin said, “You guys are crazy. What the hell does it matter?”
Finally Franklin came up with the ultimate solution. … What we did for those seven games was, I did the telecast. But another announcer opened the broadcast on camera, introduced this disembodied voice, “Bill King,” who did the entire telecast, and then the other announcer came on and closed the telecast so this horrible vision of beardedness would never appear and scare the daylights out of the Bay Area. That was Franklin’s way of solving it.
Special thanks to Peter Mieuli and the Mieuli family for recordings, photographs, biographical information and special materials included in this presentation.