Voice of the Smokies Mick Gillispie with Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and Board Member Laura Ricketts in the Smokies Radio Network booth on May 24, 2011.

Mick Gillispie, the “voice” of Smokies baseball will again anchor this year’s radio broadcast joined by Jay Lifford and Nick Roark  Blake McKinney,  Matthew Osborne, and Keith Break. The team will bring all 140 games to the East Tennessee airwaves.

Gillispie enters his ninth season in the Southern League after spending the first two with division rival Chattanooga. Wottrend and Lifford will co-host the Pilot-Oscar Meyer Pregame Show live 15-minutes prior to the scheduled first-pitch.

Mick Gillispie is in his seventh season as Director of Broadcasting and play-by-play voice for the Smokies Radio Network. Gillispie also directs and manages the SRN broadcast staff and over sees the entire on air product from the intro song to the closing billboard and everything in between. Since the 2011 season, Gillispie has handled the play-by-play of Chicago Cubs spring training games on Cubs.com, teaming up with Cubs television voice Len Kasper. In 2010, Gillispie was named the Southern League Broadcaster of the Year Award, voted on by his peers and colleagues. He has also been mentioned by Ballparkdigest.com following the last two seasons in their Broadcaster of the Year addition. Prior to joining Tennessee he spent 2005 & 2006 on the Chattanooga Lookouts broadcast team. In 2004 Gillispie called games for the Salem Avalanche (Class A Carolina League) and began his career doing play-by-play for the Wilson Tobs (Coastal Plains League) in 2003.


Blake McKinney joins the Smokies Radio Network team for the 2013 season.
He has extensive experience in video production with a background in both live and non-live projects. McKinney has worked for the Carson-Newman athletic department on the production staff since 2010. He has also contributed to national outlets such as ESPN and CBS sports.

McKinney, a native of Dandridge, TN, will earn his degree from Carson-Newman University next spring. Blake spent the 2011 season as an intern for the Tennessee Smokies production staff.

Nick Roark is a recent graduate of The University of Tennessee where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Electronic Media.  Roark joins the Smokies Radio Network in his first season and will assist in the production of Smokies broadcasts throughout the season.  Roark will also provide content for SmokiesOnRadio.com.

A native of Morristown, Tenn., Roark provided color commentary in 2010 for Morristown West High School basketball games alongside former Smokies Radio Network staffer Darren Headrick. In spring of 2012, Roark spent time at Walters State Community College where served as a Public Address announcer for the college’s baseball and softball games.  Roark also produced content for tnjn.com and TennesseeSportsTicket.com during his time at the University of Tennessee.

Matthew Osborne is entering his first season with the Smokies Radio Network. Osborne, a Knoxville, Tenn.,  native, is a student at the University of Tennessee pursuing a degree in journalism.  His broadcast career started at Fulton High School’s WKCS where he provided play-by-play for the Lady Falcon’s basketball broadcast.

Osborne has also contributed content to The Daily Beacon, tnjn.com, easttennesseesports.com, and TennesseeSportsTicket.com in that past.

Jay Lifford begins his first season with Smokies’ Broadcasting and Media Team.  A Music Broadcasting Veteran, Jay began his broadcasting career in Chattanooga, TN as a weekend DJ on 96.5 The Mountain.  After graduation from UT-Chattanooga in December of 2000, Jay moved home to Knoxville, TN to become the weeknight DJ for WIMZ.  Jay then got the opportunity to serve as Production Director for The Christian Media Center.  While Jay’s primary job was writing and producing commercials for 4 different stations, he also produced Talk Shows for AM affiliate Joy 620 and Hosted Afternoon Drive on Love 89.

Most recently, Jay has served as producer and co-host of “Rick’s House” with Rick Allen, and in the off season produces High School Football and UT Football Broadcasts for the Sports Animal.The Smokies Radio Network has the largest coverage reach in the Southern League. This four-signal network is anchored by flagship station WNML 99.1, a 6,000-watt FM transmitter located in Lenoir City just outside of West Knoxville and covers Maryville, Sevierville, Dayton and Crossviile. The east side of Knoxville into Gatlinburg, Newport and Morristown and even Smokies Park tunes to WNRX 99.3. The Thousand-Watt transmitter sits in nearby Jefferson City. The most powerful signal of the network can be heard in parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, North and South Carolina, WNML-AM 990 boasts a massive 10,000–Watt, flame-throwing transmitter that is located in downtown Knoxville.

All weekday day games and selective night and weekend contests maybe subject to conflict with other Citadel station programs. Some of those games will now be heard on WPFT 106.3. Operated by East Tennessee Radio Group this 500-Watt FM station sits in Pigeon Forge and comes in clear all across Sevierville into parts of Knox County. In addition every Smokies broadcast will be streamed live and free, via the Internet, at www. smokiesbaseball.com, as well as available on the Smokies mobile app.


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