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Indy 500 Broadcast History

After two years as IMS Radio Network “chief announcer”
Paul Page has decided it was time to call it quits. The
veteran announcer came back in 2014 for a second stint
in that role as he previously was the “chief announcer” for
the network from 1977-1987. From there, he’d become
the head announcer for ABCs IndyCar coverage before
moving into the same role on the NHRA side.

But, IndyCar got him back in 2014 which was a very
popular move. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to stay long as
he decided 2015 was it.

The IMS Radio Network hired
Mark Jaynes in that role
as the Indianapolis resident becomes the sixth “voice of
the 500.”

The 52-year old joined the network in 1996 and has been
a regular ever since. He was most recently the lead
announcer for all the Indy Lights races and served on the
Verizon IndyCar Series broadcast in a fill-in role in the
booth on practice and/or qualifying days.

Joining Jaynes on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series
broadcasts broadcasts will be Davey Hamilton who
serves as the driver analyst, Jake Query, Nick Yeoman,
Michael Young, Dave Furst, Katie Hargitt and Rob
Sid Collins ..... Mark Jaynes
Former Voice of the 500’s:

Sid Collins (1952–1976)
Paul Page (1977–1987)
Lou Palmer (1988–1989)
Bob Jenkins (1990–1998)
Mike King (1999–2013)
Paul Page (2014–2015)
NOTE:  The 2020 Indy 500 race was televised live in Indianapolis for the 4th time in history.  This was because the COVID-19
pandemic resulted in the race being postponed until August and ran without spectators in the stands.  
History of Indy 500 Local TV Black-out
Paul Page
Play-by-play commentator for the Indy 500 for 27 years across radio and TV  

Voice of the 500 on the IMS Radio Network from 1977-1987 and 2014-2015
Voice of the 500 on TV from 1988-1988 and 2002-2004
Lead announcer on NBC for CART 1979-1987
Lead announcer on ESPN/ABC for the Indy 500, CART and IRL from 1988-2004

Page’s work in 1988 and 1989 earned him two Sports Emmy awards for
“Outstanding Live Sports Special.”
Paul Page,1977
Mike King
Worked at the IMS Radio Network for 19 years.
Chief announcer for the IMS Radio Network for all IndyCar events 1996-
Lead announcer fo the Indy 500  1999-2013
other announcers....
Bob Lamey
Jake Query
Kevin Lee
MIchael Young
Nick Yeoman
Chris Denari
The IMS Radio Network was founded May 30, 1952 and is
an in-house radio syndication arrangement which broadcasts
the Indy 500, the IndyCar Series, and Indy Lights to radio
stations covering most of North America.

The network has over 350 terrestrial radio affiliates, plus
shortwave transmissions through American Forces Network
and World Harvest Radio.

The network is carried on satellite radio through SiriusXM.

It reaches over 20 million listeners..

In 1953, the network began live flag-to-flag coverage of the
Indy 500.

The position known as “The Voice of the 500” all began with
the legendary
Sid Collins.

The early broadcasts at IMS began much differently than they
play out today. They originated in the Pagoda, where the booth
has been located since 1957. Back then, it was known as the
master control tower. Prior to 1957, a radio booth was set up in
front of the wooden master control tower.

Many people have credited Sid Collins with coming up with the
phrase “Stay tuned for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Sid
himself has openly admitted he did not create the famous line:
a WIBC producer coined the phrase in trying to give the station
a unique flavor. This was used every year except in 1981, when
Mike King, 2013

Coverage of the Indianapolis 500 on radio dates back to 1922.
Two small stations, WOH and WLK, broadcast descriptions of
the race to a small number of households in the Indianapolis area.

Starting in either 1924 or 1925, WFBM and WGN in Chicago
carried the race, broadcasting periodic updates.

The first major coverage came in 1928 when NBC covered the
final hour of the race live, with
Graham McNamee as anchor.

In 1929, WKBF and WFBM carried a 5-1/2 hour full race

There was no radio coverage in 1932, as Speedway officials
decided to allow newspapers exclusive coverage of the race.

NBC eventually returned, and continued until 1939, in some
years also carrying live segments at the start.
Charlie Lyons
was their announcer for 1939.

CBS also covered the race in the late 1930s, with
Ted Husing
anchoring the coverage in 1936.

WIRE and WLW also reported from the race during the 1930s.

From 1939 to 1950, Mutual Broadcasting System covered the
Indy 500 nationwide with live segments at the start, the finish,
and live periodic updates throughout the race.
Bill Slater was
brought in as the anchor.

In the years prior to World War II, Mutual used the production
services of WLW, and provided the signal to other Mutual
stations across the country. In the years after World War II,
Mutual utilized the services of WIBC to produce the broadcast
and provide additional talent.

In 1950, due to an illness, Slater was expected to miss the
Sid Collins, who had served as a turn reporter for
two years, was tentatively named his replacement. Slater was
able to make it to the race, so Collins joined Slater in the booth
as co-anchor. Later in the day, Collins reported from victory
lane. That year's race was cut short by rain, forcing Mutual to
interrupt Queen for a Day to broadcast the finish of the
rain-shortened event.Mutual decided to stop covering the
event in 1951.

In early May of 1951, Speedway president
Wilbur Shaw
consummated a last-minute deal for WIBC to cover the race,
Sid Collins as anchor. WIBC's format followed that of
Mutual's, with live coverage at the start, the finish, and periodic
updates throughout the race. WIBC provided its coverage to
approximately 25 other Mutual affiliates.
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1965-2018  (54 Years)

ABC began airing the Indy 500 in 1965 on its Wide World of Sports series.  ABC broadcast every Indy 500 race until 2019.

By the late 1980s, ABC carried many of the CART PPG IndyCar World Series races that supported the Indy 500.

In late 1987,
Paul Page was recruited from NBC Sports to join Bobby Unser and Sam Posey in the broadcast booth
to form what remains as one of the most memorable trios in American auto racing broadcasting. Page provided
enthusiasm, Unser his unmistakable directness, and Posey his signature artistic and poetic perspective of the sport.
2019 - Present

NBC began airing the Indy 500 in 2019.  They also began
airing all of the IndyCar races.

Some races, qualifying and Indy Light races were shown on
their cable channel, NBCSN.  Two years later, that channel
was replaced by their new Peacock channel.
In 1989 and 1990, their presentation of the Indy 500 earned the network the Sports Emmy for the year's Outstanding Live
Sports Special. By then, their pit reporters were
Jack Arute, Gary Gerould, and Dr. Jerry Punch.

In 1996, ABC added coverage of IRL races to the 500, and continued to broadcast CART Championship races through 2001.

From 1996 through 2008, ESPN also carried 5-6  IndyCar races, before losing the cable television rights to the series to Versus.
Unser, Page and Posey
Dr. Jerry Punch
Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
John Cooper, President of IMS at the time, wanted it changed
to the “Greatest Spectacle in Sports.”

Reporter Positions
Back in the 1940s and 1950s, Mutual used just two roving
reporters. One of them covered turns 1 and 2 while the other
covered turns 3 and 4. At the time, there was also a person
assigned to the backstretch.

Beginning in 1955, IMSRN had one reporter assigned to each
of the four turns as well as the backstretch, bringing the total to

The backstretch reporter was eliminated in 1991 when the
vantage point from turn 3 was improved. However, King later
restored the position as he found it was helpful to have
someone there during caution laps.

The turn 1 location was left vacant in 2010 because the chief
announcer in the pagoda could see the entire turn. That position
was restored in 2011 when double-file restarts were instituted.

In 1977, a redesigned communication system greatly enhanced
the radio broadcasts. All reporters had a button they could
press to talk into Page’s right ear off-air. Page also had a
button he could press that would go to all of the reporters. He
says that technology played a key role in calling the final laps
of the 1982 race between Gordon Johncock and Rick Mears,
a call many still to this day consider the greatest in the history
of the near century-old race.