Longtime radio voice Joe Smith back on the airwaves

Retiring wasn’t part of the plan during Joe Smith’s long recovery.

It still isn’t now.

Through all the challenges of the last year, the good days and the bad, the longtime Bloomington radio voice strived to remain patient and positive as he recovered from a nearly-fatal fall early last May.

This week, that patience is paying off.

Smith returned to the WGCL airwaves on Monday, ready to reconnect with the local sports scene.

“The accident changed me as a person, but it also made me feel how important each and every day is to be able to get up and go out and do a job,” Smith said. “I was blessed with a voice, and even though I’m 70 now, I think I can still communicate. I feel good about it and I’m raring to go.”

Smith’s return comes a little more than a year to the day that he tumbled backwards down 12 steps at his apartment complex on May 3, 2017, fracturing his C6 and C7 vertebrae. Smith spent 23 days in the hospital, undergoing two major spinal cord surgeries.

Rest and rehabilitation kept Smith from delivering his daily reports across the past year, as well as from covering local high school sports and serving as part of the team on the IU Radio Network, for which he handles pregame, halftime and postgame duties for football and men’s basketball games.

Smith, a member of the Indiana Sportswriters/Sportscasters Hall of Fame, is spending portions of this daily reports this week, thanking those in the community that helped and supported him as he recovered.

“It’s just my platform,” Smith said. “I could sit and write 1,000 thank you notes and stick them in the mail, or email, but that’s so impersonal. So I do what I do best, and that’s talk to people. That’s what I’m going to do the rest of the week in one of the reports.

“I thank Dr. Zach Dodd for saving my life and all of the therapists in the hospital and Matt Andrews and Doug Ballard over at the Iron Pit. It’s just my way right now. At the end of the week, we’ll leave it and hopefully things will be back to normal.”

Mike Glasscott, who filled in for Smith during the past year, says things are already feeling back to normal on the local airwaves.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” Glasscott said. “To see him work through it and set a goal and hit the goal and how well he did in his recovery, it’s great because he’s a big part of that station. Having him back is like putting on a warm blanket. It’s nice to hear that voice back in everything. It’s great.”

3 comments

  1. It is good to hear he has made it back. Going through three different spinal fusion surgeries I know how tough the weeks after along with the tough rehabilitation was to go through. It is nice he can return to the work he loves as I finally had to give up coaching football that I loved. Fans will once again get to hear his voice for some of their favorite sports teams.

  2. Nobody knows more about local sports that have taken place in the last half century or so than does Joe Smith.
    Great to have him back on the air!

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