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Marty Smith Tears Up In Talks Of NASCAR Removing Confederate Flag

“It’s impossible to overstate what an historic moment it is. If you really want to be honest, NASCAR did more for racial equality in their own garage in a week than they did in 70 years.”

Ricky Keeler

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One of the major stories in sports this past week was NASCAR banning confederate flags at their racetrack as fans start to slowly be allowed back in (up to 5,000 fans will be allowed to attend the June 21 race at Talladega SuperSpeedway in Alabama). It is a strong subject that all three hours of the ESPN Radio show, Marty & McGee with Marty Smith and Ryan McGee, were devoted to this subject. 

As McGee opened the show, he said that the subject that he didn’t think would ever happen, but the change became a reality.

“It’s been a week I was thankful to see. This week, you and I have covered something I didn’t believe we will ever see,” said McGee.

Smith added that it is a change in NASCAR to bring racial equality inside the garage that they hadn’t seen in a long time.

“It’s impossible to overstate what an historic moment it is. If you really want to be honest, NASCAR did more for racial equality in their own garage in a week than they did in 70 years,” said Smith.

Throughout the three-hour broadcast on Saturday Morning, Smith and McGee talked with numerous guests, including co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, Brad Daugherty. Warrick Scott (grandson of Wendell Scott – first full-time African-American driver in NASCAR), and ESPN personality Clinton Yates. You will find the link to all three hours here: 

In the final hour of the show, Smith shared a conversation with Rayfield Milton, one of his best friends in high school, that he had earlier in the week. Smith brought up the point that every word has to be the right word. Milton gave him a call after Smith’s segment on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and was crying.

“Because you just said the perfect sentence. You just said something that I can’t say. It took you to say that sentence. You have seen what I had to deal with our own lives and for you to say that on that platform is amazing,” said Milton to Smith about what Milton had to go through in high school.

Smith later mentioned one more story about Milton, who he played football with in high school. He talked about writing a chapter in his book Never Settle called Forever Friday where he talks about all the lines in the world being erased on a football field. But, as Smith was driving to the grocery store one day, he thought about the words and he wondered if he was seeing things only from his perspective. So, he called Milton.

“Have I ever made you feel lesser than a human being. Have I ever made you feel anything but my friend and equal,” said an emotional Smith to Milton.

“You know what I have seen, but you have never treated me like anything but a man, an equal, and your friend,” Milton answered according to Smith. 

Smith and McGee were able to get candid insight from their guests and shared their own personal experiences and conversations in what was a monumental moment for the sport of NASCAR. 

Sports Radio News

Joel Utley, College Basketball’s Record Holder for Most Games Called, Retires

Utley retires after 61 years as the team’s basketball play-by-play announcer which is a college basketball record.

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Joel Utley

Joel Utley has announced he is retiring from broadcasting and as the voice of the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers.

Utley retires after 61 years as the team’s basketball play-by-play announcer which is a college basketball record. He broadcast 1,933 Kentucky Wesleyan games during that span, also a record for total games called. He began his career on December 2, 1961 when KWC defeated California State University – Northridge, 100-64. 

Utley also is the only broadcaster in the nation to call 12 NCAA Basketball Championship games (all levels) including eight Division II titles.

Joel Utley interviewing Rupp

“It was a tough decision to make, but the timing is right to step down,” Utley said. “What I have done as a broadcaster reflects my love for KWC. My career has been beyond any dreams I ever had.”

He is a member of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame and in September, Utley will be inducted into the Kentucky Broadcaster Association Hall of Fame.

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Mark Chernoff: ‘I Didn’t Believe Mad Dog Was Going To Leave WFAN’

“I wish they hadn’t separated, because it was the most amazing team.”

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Mark Chernoff offered some great stories and insight on the latest episode of The Jason Barrett Podcast. The former program director of WFAN in New York began his appearance by paying tribute to the station’s three soon-to-be Hall of Famers.

He reflected on Jeff Smulyan’s vision in creating sports radio, Suzyn Waldman’s gravitas and versatility as a reporter and talent, and all of the success he shared with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.

Russo and his long time radio partner Mike Francesa split up in 2008 after Russo left WFAN for Sirius. Chernoff admitted that even as he was told it was about to happen, he still didn’t believe it.

“You know, I misread a little bit the situation with Mike and Chris,” he admitted. “Mike said ‘Dog’s gonna leave. I know he’s gonna leave.’ He even intimated that he had spoken to Mel [Karmazin, the then-CEO of Sirius], not Mike but Chris, and it was likely he was going to go over to Sirius. And I just couldn’t believe it.”

Mike and the Mad Dog is as dominant a show as local sports radio has ever produced. The duo was together from 1989 until 2008. When they split up, Mark Chernoff says that he took it personally.

“I was sad for a really long time. I was angry too.”

The move hurt his relationship with Russo for a while. The two did not speak for a long time.

He told Barrett that that is over now. They share occasional texts and always hug and catch up when they see each other. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t still some lingering disappointment.

“I wish they hadn’t separated, because it was the most amazing team,” Chernoff said of Mike & the Mad Dog. “But both [Chris] and Mike were certainly successful on their own.”

New episodes of The Jason Barrett Podcast are released each Tuesday morning.

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Sports Radio News

Eli Gold To Miss Start of Alabama Football Season

He’s faced his share of health challenges recently. His streak of 409 consecutive Alabama football games was broken in 2020 after a COVID diagnosis.

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Legendary Alabama play-by-play announcer Eli Gold will miss the beginning of the 2022 football season with health issues.

Jim Carabin, Vice President and General Manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing announced the news Wednesday. The school did not elaborate on Gold’s ailment, only saying he would be sidelined to begin the season.

Chris Stewart, who handles play-by-play duties for Alabama’s basketball and baseball teams will fill in during Gold’s absence. Stewart will also host The Nick Saban Show and Hey, Coach until Gold returns.

The 68-year-old Gold is a 2014 inductee to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Gold, who’s contract runs through the 2023 season, has been the Voice of the Crimson Tide since the 1988 season.

He’s faced his share of health challenges recently. His streak of 409 consecutive Alabama football games was broken in 2020 after a COVID diagnosis. Gold also had both shoulders replaced that same year.

In addition to his work with the Crimson Tide, Gold has served as an announcer for NASCAR, NFL, NHL, and the NBA G-League, among others.

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