Franklin graduated from the University of Michagan and worked for WILX in Lansing, Michigan and anchored news and sports on WDZZ-FM in Flint, Michigan. He then became a military affairs correspondent for WAVY in Norfolk, Virginia before coming to Birmingham.
As a reporter and, later, an anchor for WBRC TV, Franklin covered the trials of Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church. He also traveled to Washington D.C. to cover the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and to New York in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Franklin's documentary "Kids and Violence: Saving a Generation" won an Emmy and a Scripps Howard Award. He also produced "Chosen One: The Fred Shuttlesworth Story" for WBRC. As an advocate for alternatives to violence, Franklin headed U-Turn, an anti-gang initiative and coordinated the Fox 6 Kids and Jobs summer employment program. In 1993 Mayor Richard Arrington appointed him to chair the newly-created Birmingham Youth Advisory Commission. When Franklin decided not to renew his contract with WBRC in 2003, there were rumors that he was planning to enter politics, perhaps making a run for Mayor of Birmingham.
Instead, Franklin moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he ran a record label. He moved on to do television work in New York and Miami before returning to Atlanta to work for WXIA. He anchored weekend news broadcasts for WAGA from 2005 to 2008. In 2010 he returned to the public eye as a spokesman for Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, who was accused of sexual abuse.
In 2016 Franklin joined WIAT as a morning news anchor.
- Franklin, Art (2007) Give it All You Got: A Message to My Young Brothers.
- Tomberlin, Michael (April 18, 2003) "Anchor Franklin to leave Channel 6." The Birmingham News
- Williams, Roy (May 30, 1993) "Group to review city-funded youth programs." The Birmingham News
- "Exclusive: Bishop's rep: Abuse claims 'without merit'" (September 22, 2010) CNN.com
- Phillips, Ryan (January 25, 2016) "Veteran newsman hired to lead CBS 42 morning news." Birmingham Business Journal