Ben Bradford


Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.


10:53 am
Thu February 14, 2013

How The US Airways Merger Will Affect Charlotte

Early indications are that Charlotte will remain a hub for air travel, with the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways.

  The early indication is that Charlotte’s airport is safe in the just-announced merger of US Airways and American Airlines. The new American Airlines will be the world's largest, with a value of 11 billion dollars and an extensive network of destinations.

When merging, airlines combine operations, which means reducing duplicative routes and changing presences in airports. US Airways operates about 90 percent of flights in and out of Charlotte-Douglas every day—it is the airline’s largest hub.

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Local News
8:11 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Panthers Running Backs Contribute To Salary Cap Woes

Carolina Panthers on the field.
Credit Jas&Suz / Flickr

  While the Carolina Panthers are in talks to upgrade their stadium, they also need to figure out who will play in it next season. The team is more than $10 million over next year’s league-wide salary cap. That means dropping expensive players and reworking contracts to get below the cap by March 12.

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Local News
5:15 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Should Teachers Train To Fight Shooters?

Another instructor strips Ken Glenn of a rubber pistol, in a demonstration of how to disarm a gunman.
Credit Ben Bradford/WFAE

A Gaston County martial arts instructor held a seminar a week ago for teachers about how to respond in a school shooting. First grade teachers, school nurses, and administrators practiced how to defend a classroom should a shooter try to enter, and how to fight back. Similar events have been popping up across the country, run by martial arts gyms, firearms training centers, and even schools, in the wake of Sandy Hook.

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3:33 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Are Mini-Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Power?

The reactor room at Babcock & Wilcox's prototype reactor outside Lynchburg, Va. The reactor vessel is behind the orange curtain.
Ben Bradford WFAE

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:15 pm

The U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot them around the U.S. and export them overseas.

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5:19 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Freightliner Cuts 1,200 Charlotte-Area Jobs

Three Charlotte-area plants make parts and assemble Freightliner trucks.
Credit KDavidClark/Flickr

The numbers are in on Daimler Chrysler’s plan to lay off workers at its three Charlotte area Freightliner plants. The tally is 1,200 jobs.

To comply with federal law, Daimler notified state and local governments this week that the company plans to lay off workers as soon as April. The state posted the numbers of expected layoffs today: 80 workers from a parts plant in Gastonia, 405 from an assembly plant in Mount Holly, and 715 from the assembly plant in Cleveland. Daimler cited “softening economic conditions” as the catalyst.

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Local News
2:55 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

MeckLINK Passes Penultimate Preparedness Test

It’s been a rollercoaster month for MeckLINK. That’s the county mental health service agency, which has been preparing for two years and hired nearly 150 workers to take over more than $200 million in Medicaid funds for mental health, substance abuse, and disability services. Since December 31st, MeckLINK has lost the job--when the state found it would not be ready to take over--appealed that decision, lost the appeal, threatened to sue, and then negotiated an extension to prove it can be ready by March 1st.

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Local News
9:41 am
Thu January 31, 2013

CMPD Set To Expand Reach Of Surveillance Network

CMPD's Video Observation Room.
Credit Ben Bradford/WFAE

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department has more than a hundred new security cameras Uptown. They were purchased through a federal grant for the Democratic National Convention. Nearly five months later, they’re still in place. But CMPD says they could be put to better use in high-crime areas.

CMPD’s Video Observation Room is a little bit sci-fi.

“This is about as good as it gets,” says Captain Steve Willis.

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Local News
12:17 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

State Gives MeckLINK Another Chance

  Mecklenburg County will have another chance to prove it’s ready to take over more than $200 million in Medicaid funds for mental health services.

The county spent the last two years and $3 million  preparing its agency MeckLINK to handle mental health, substance abuse, and disability services, as part of a statewide change to how Medicaid funds for those services are dispersed. 

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Local News
9:53 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Scandals Reverberate In Cherryville

Several city hall officials have been arrested or fired in a year of scandal.
Credit Ben Bradford/WFAE

There’s big trouble in little Cherryville. For over a year, the 5,700 residents of the small Gaston County town have experienced a series of FBI raids, federal indictments, and government scandals. 

Twelve of the town’s public employees have been arrested, suspended, or dismissed in the scandals. Kelly Martin served many of them at the Home Folks Cafe on Main Street.

She says Cherryville used to be “just a small town place--everybody knew everybody. A good friendly place.”

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Local News
4:19 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Behind Closed Doors, Panthers Ask Council For Stadium Upgrades

The City Council is considering providing public funds to renovate Bank of America stadium.
Credit Flickr/Suzie T

The Charlotte City Council met Monday night behind closed doors with Panthers president Danny Morrison and owner Jerry Richardson. The team is seeking public support for renovation of their 16-year-old stadium. But, Panthers officials won’t talk about it, the mayor won’t talk about it, and (only) a limited number of staff have been let in on it.

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