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IU radio legend Joe Smith stepping away from game broadcasts after 2022 football season

Many IU fans cannot recall what a football or basketball game radio broadcast sounds like without the iconic voice of Joe Smith.

But that day is coming soon.

The longtime radio sportscaster and Bloomington staple announced on Wednesday that the 2022 football campaign will be the 40th and final season of his distinguished career with Indiana.

Smith has handled pre-game, halftime, and post-game duties for IU football and men’s basketball since 1983 alongside the legendary Don Fischer, who will celebrate his 50th year on the Indiana airwaves in 2022.

“I would not miss Don’s 50th season for anything in the world,” Smith said in a release from IU Athletics.

“Nothing has made me happier than being a part of Indiana football and men’s basketball broadcasts with the best play-by-play man in the country. Don is a true friend and to share the booth with him one final year, well, it doesn’t get any better than that.

“IU has meant so much to me and my family, and I can’t wait to watch Coach Allen BUILD the Hoosiers back into a Top-25 program. I also want to thank Scott Dolson for his support and allowing me to close out my IU career on this incredible high note.”

Smith’s voice will remain on the air in a new capacity.  He will transition into the host of the football post-game show and mentor a new broadcaster into the pre-game, halftime, and post-game role.

Fischer has seen his longtime partner on the road do a little bit of everything over his career on the game broadcasts.

“Joe Smith has been an integral and versatile member of the IU Radio Network broadcast team for the better part of 40 years,” Fischer said.

“At one time or another, Joe has served as the broadcast engineer, football spotter, statistician, and our pre-game, halftime, and post-game host through those four decades. He also sat in for me as the play-by-play voice for the Seawolf Classic in 1978 and took over late in a game when I developed laryngitis. His ability to step in and do whatever has been asked has made him invaluable to me and our staff. Joe’s transition into this new role is just another example of his multifaceted abilities.”

Smith is the sports director of WGCL-AM 1370 in Bloomington and is in his 53rd overall year of radio broadcasting in Bloomington. He began his career in 1969 at WAIK Radio in Galesburg, Ill. From 1973-89, Smith worked on “RFD4 Agri-Business Show” on WTTV-4 with the late Bob Cook.

In 1998, Smith was named Indiana Sportscaster of the Year; in April 2003, he was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters/Sportscasters Hall of Fame; and in Aug. 2021, he was welcomed into the Monroe County Sports Hall of Fame.

Smith handled the IU TV Warmup Shows from 1978-82 and hosted several IU Coaches Shows from 1983-96 and again from 2002-04.

He received the J.W. Bill Orwig Medal that goes to non-alumni for distinguished service to the University in June 2004. In March 2020, Smith was given the IU Bicentennial Medal by President Michael A. McRobbie, awarded to organizations and individuals who, through their personal, professional, artistic or philanthropic efforts, have broadened the reach of Indiana University around the state, nation, and world.

Smith will lead John Herrick in the transition into his former role. Herrick is currently a news anchor at 93.1 WIBC and Network Indiana in Indianapolis.

A seasoned sports broadcaster and news reporter, he has been with Emmis Communications since 2017. Herrick broadcasts football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and softball games for the IHSAA Champions Radio and TV Network, the ISC Sports Network, ESPN+, and Ninestar TV. He has also filled in as the host of Indiana Sports Talk.

“Even though broadcasting has taken me to many places, it still brought me back to Indiana,” Herrick said.

“No matter where I have gone, I have always been a Hoosier. It is fitting, then, that I will be joining the IU broadcast team. I, like many others, grew up listening to Don Fischer and admiring his Hall of Fame work. Now I have the benefit of working alongside a legend and learning even more from Don throughout the football and basketball seasons. I look forward to bringing Hoosier Nation a broadcasting product it can be proud of.”

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