Topic: College of Communication Information and Media

October 15, 2008

Darrell Wible as a broadcaster in Terre Haute
• 1949: Pitched first no-hit, no-run game in the history of Indiana State University.

• 1949: First broadcasting job at WBIW in Bedford paid $33.90 per week. "I would have worked for nothing," Wible said. His more than 6,000 programs there included "Dream Book of Memories" in which he read poetry.

• 1951: Hired as sports director at WBOW in Terre Haute and broadcast a 15-minute daily sports program opposite Lowell Thomas. He said one of his major achievements was beating the legendary Thomas in the ratings. During the same year he began public address announcing for major auto races.

• 1952: Received master's degree from Indiana State in the same ceremony in which his mother, Esther H. Wible, received her B.S. degree.

• 1953: Began broadcasting from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

• 1954: Began weekly column for The Saturday Spectator newspaper in Terre Haute.

• 1955: Originated qualifications for the 500 Mile Race for the first time in Terre Haute broadcast history. He also broadcast his first season of professional baseball in the Three-I League.

• 1957: Moved to WTHI in Terre Haute where he served as sports director, news director, account executive and director of radio. As director of radio, he was responsible for 26 percent increase in gross local sales during his first 12 months and the highest monthly profit in the station's 10-year history.

• 1962: His radio fishing program "The Sportsmen's Club" program moves to prime time television (9:30 p.m. Wednesday). "I was told that nobody was interested in a slimy ole fish and the program would quickly die," Wible said. "It was on the air for nearly 20 years."

• 1963: Enrolled in Ohio State University doctoral program. "For the first time I had an opportunity to stand at arm's length from the industry--to learn about law, audience research, marketing, and dozens of other things." While at Ohio State, he broadcast play-by-play for Ohio State basketball and the Ohio high school state finals.

• 1964: Trackside announcer for international MCA telecast of Indianapolis 500 through 1966. He was the announcer in the north end of the pits when Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonald were killed on the second lap of the race.

• 1966: Became first faculty member hired for Ball State's Center for Radio, Television and Motion Pictures. "When I began my university teaching career in 1966 a set of values came with me," Wible said. "There was no profane or indecent language on the air in 1966. It wasn't necessary to list the words we couldn't say--we knew what they were."

• 1968: Received Ph.D. from Ohio State. Walter Cronkite was the commencement speaker.

• 1969: One day his office phone rang and a voice said, "Hey Doc. How do you broadcast the 500 Mile Race?" Wible doesn't know whether his advice helped or hindered, but David Letterman got an interview on ABC-TV with Mario Andretti.

• 1975: Completed "The Indiana Report," an exhaustive research project on radio-TV studies offered by universities. He sent questionnaires to more than 100 Indiana commerical broadcasters, visited more than 50 Indiana stations, interviewed top to lower management and shot hundreds of photographs. Broadcasting magazine featured the results and more than 100 universities requested copies. As a result, David Smith was hired to create and supervise an internship program, becoming Ball State's liaison with Indiana broadcasters.

• 1977: Invited to be trackside announcer on worldwide Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, continuing through 1980 with a distinguished staff of Indiana broadcasters.

• 1985: Conversations with alumnus David Letterman lead to creation of Letterman Scholarships.

• 1986: Wrote and produced "The Burton Story," a 40-minute documentary about WLBC founder Don Burton. The program is in the Indiana State Museum Hall of Fame display and the National Broadcasters Pioneer Hall of Fame in Washington.

• 1989: Established WCRD, student-run carrier-current radio station.

• 1991: Retired as professor emeritus of telecommunications.

• 1995: Arranged trip to New York for 16 of David Letterman's classmates to celebrate the 25th year of their graduation.

• 1997: Produced four-CD jewel case with booklet from play-by-play basketball inVigo County during the 1950s and 1960s.

• 2003: Completed two books, "Memoirs of an Indiana Broadcaster: 1949-1966" and "The Letterman Gang." Publication is pending.

• 2008: Named "Sagamore of the Wabash" by Governor, Mitch Daniels, and is the State of Indiana's highest honor.


• 10: Terre Haute TV channel where his "Sportsman's Club" was shown in prime time.

• 14: Consecutive Indiana High School basketball finals broadcast from Hinkle Fieldhouse.

• 27: Consecutive years as chief announcer for WBOW, WTHI and other stations at Indianapolis 500 Qualifications. Most times he took students with him to observe and to help.

• 73: Students in his first class at Ball State. Four students in that class were the first members of what Wible named "The Letterman Gang."

• 150: Acres he helped his father farm just one mile east of where the pavement ended on Terre Haute's Hulman Street.

• 300: Courses taught as full-time regular faculty member at Ball State over 25 years.

• 3,000: Remote broadcasts including football, professional and amateur baseball, basketball, harness racing auto racing, golf, man-on-the-street and on-the-spot news including election coverage.