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Current Events | Diversity | Entertainment | Generations and Demographics | Moderator | Personal Development | Media
Ben Fong-Torres, a native of Oakland, California, is best known as a writer with Rolling Stone, Parade, and many other magazines. He was portrayed in the 2000 film, Almost Famous. He is the author of seven books, including a best-selling memoir, The Rice Room: Growing Up Chinese-American. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones optioned another of his books, Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons. His other books include a history of Top 40 radio, two compilations of past articles Not Fade Away and Becoming Almost Famous, and The Doors By the Doors, published in 2006 by Hyperion. He also wrote the text for The Grateful Dead Scrapbook, to be published by Chronicle Books, in the fall of 2009.
Mr. Fong-Torres is also a broadcaster. Graduating in 1966 from San Francisco State University, where he majored in radio-TV-film, he joined KFOG as an announcer. In the early 1970's, while at Rolling Stone, he held a weekend shift on KSAN, a pioneer rock station, and was later a regular contributor to the television show, Evening. He hosted NPR station KQED's weekend arts and talk show, Fog City Radio, in 1994. He is heard weeknights from 7 to 9 p.m. Pacific Time, on KYAradio.com, an online oldies channel.
Since 1997, Ben Fong-Torres has served as co-anchor of KTVU's telecasts of the Chinese New Year Parade. He and co-host Julie Haener have twice won Emmy awards.
Currently a freelance writer and broadcaster, Mr. Fong-Torres was a VP of content at two online, media startups. He has been a consultant for MSN and MTV's Urge.com, SpotDJ.com, and OneTrueMedia.com, and he writes a music blog on TV Land's Web site.
Ben Fong-Torres writes a general column for AsianConnections.com as well as the "Radio Waves" column in theSan Francisco Chronicle's Sunday Datebook. He is constantly in demand as an onstage interviewer at music and film festivals, as a panelist or moderator, as a speaker at colleges and seminars, as an MC for community events, and as a "talking head" or authority on music and pop culture for radio and television newscasts and documentaries.
In 2001, Mr. Fong-Torres keynoted the National High School Journalism Conference in San Francisco, CA and spoke at Northwestern University, sponsored by the Asian Students Association. He also keynoted a music industry conference hosted by Soundata, pioneers of Soundscan, which measures sales at record stores. He was the commencement speaker at Thurgood Marshall College at San Diego State University in 2002. He delivered the commencement address at San Francisco State's graduation ceremonies in 2005. He also addressed the seniors of 2003 when he accepted Alumnus of the Year honors that year. He returned to the campus in 2009 to keynote the commencement ceremonies of the Journalism Department.
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