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December 26, 2012

Jenkins still going strong on air

Hall of Famer in his 51st year of broadcasting Southern Indiana high school games

CLARKSVILLE — Clarksville resident Charlie Jenkins is in the middle of his 51st year broadcasting high school football and basketball contests on the radio in the state of Indiana.

And as far as the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame member is concerned, he plans on continuing to call games until his health prevents him from doing his job and as long as he is still having fun broadcasting.

“If I see that my health is not up to what it should be, then I’ll step aside,” Jenkins said. “It has come across my mind [to stop broadcasting]. But I still enjoy it. When I get to the day that I don’t enjoy it, then I’ll retire completely.”

Jenkins, who is semi-retired from the radio business, currently broadcasts high school games through his company, called Sunnyside Sports. The 73-year-old purchases air time for the contests from WQKC-AM/1450 and then sells advertising for the broadcasts. Jenkins produces the commercials and broadcasts games, primarily with former Clarksville High School boys’ basketball coach Paul Love.

“It keeps me young,” Jenkins said. “It gives me something that I really enjoy doing. I try to make them as professional as possible. I’ve always had a good relationship with the coaches and the athletic officials in the metropolitan area. I would sort of be lost if I didn’t have the games to broadcast each week.”

Ted Throckmorton, who was Jenkins’ broadcasting partner at WXVW-AM for 35 years, respects the work Jenkins has done over the years.

“He’s respected all over the state,” Throckmorton said. “When we traveled to the state championship games in Indianapolis, a lot of people knew him. He’s a gentleman and he’s an outstanding human being.”

Jenkins mainly calls New Albany boys’ basketball games. But he also has had the chance to broadcast other local boys’ teams this season like Jeffersonville, Clarksville, Providence and Floyd Central.

Jenkins has been impressed with four area teams so far – the Red Devils, the Bulldogs, the Pioneers and the Generals.

“New Albany and Jeffersonville probably are the two best teams in the Southern Indiana Clark-Floyd area,” Jenkins said. “I think Jeff proved that when they played so well against Louisville Ballard. New Albany has played well against Columbus East and they played well against Evansville Harrison. I think both of those teams have the ability to reach maybe the regional or the semi-state.

“As for the [Class] 2A schools, you have to say Providence and Clarksville are the two strongest teams.”

Jenkins says he is kind of surprised that he has broadcasted games for more than 50 years. But he also mentioned that he does not give that a lot of thought because the football and basketball seasons go by so fast.

“The years have really rolled by,” Jenkins said. “It’s really been a pleasure doing the games. You start a season and before you know it, you’re getting ready for the [postseason] tournaments.”

During his radio career, Jenkins has noticed a lot of changes to broadcasting athletics. That includes more coverage of women’s sports and more games being broadcasted on the Internet.

“I think the emergence of women’s sports has been one of the big events that has taken place. As we continue on, I think the ladies will continue to have a more prominent role in being broadcasted,” Jenkins said. “Another thing that has really developed in the last couple of years is the emergence of Internet coverage.”

Jenkins called probably the two biggest games in the history of high school boys’ basketball in the Clark-Floyd area. Those contests were New Albany’s 84-79 victory over South Bend Adams in the 1973 state championship game and Jeff’s 66-61 win against Indianapolis Ben Davis in the 1993 state title contest.

Jenkins has lots of memories from each team’s championship runs.

He remembers the confidence the 1972-73 state champion Bulldogs had in the state tournament. Jenkins also remembers how New Albany survived in the state semifinal that year against Franklin, a game the Bulldogs won in overtime, 84-79.

“I remember them as a team that sort of had a swagger about them. I remember [New Albany’s] Julius Norman and the tournament he had,” Jenkins said. “New Albany was almost beaten [by Franklin].”

Jenkins gives a lot of credit to former Jeff coach and current Hall of Famer Mike Broughton for orchestrating the Red Devils’ 1993 state title.

“I remember the coaching job that Mike Broughton did. He did a remarkable job coaching that team,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins broadcasted the old single-class IHSAA State Finals from 1965-1997 alongside Throckmorton. Besides the two area state championship teams, the most memorable state championship team for him was the 1970-71 East Chicago Washington squad. East Chicago Washington posted a perfect 29-0 record that season and had five starters who proceeded to play NCAA Division I basketball. That team included former University of Louisville standout Junior Bridgeman.

“The fact that all [their starters] went on to play Division I basketball says something about how good they were,” Jenkins said.

The biggest honor Jenkins has gotten in his career happened in 2009 when he got inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Jenkins will cherish that achievement for the rest of his life.

“It was a tremendous accomplishment,” Jenkins said. “Being inducted is the highest honor that you can receive if you’re either broadcasting or played high school basketball. The high schools had a lot to do with me getting in. They gave me the opportunity to come into the schools and do the games.”To me, that’s the biggest accomplishment of my broadcasting career is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”


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