Dick Gabriel is in his second tour of duty with WKYT. From 1985-2006, he served as the station’s Sports Manager, directing the day-to-day operations of the sports department, producing sportscasts and specials, creating and editing stories and occasionally anchoring the sports segment on WKYT’s various newscasts.
“I liked the excitement that came with creating something new each day,” he says, “either within the daily newscast or the larger projects, such as specials or documentaries. It was something different each day, each week, each season. I really enjoy telling stories and breaking news.”
In 2007, Dick took a fulltime position with IMG, the rights holder for the UK TV and radio sports networks. Throughout his time at WKYT, he had worked for the network on a freelance basis. After he went to work for IMG fulltime, he became a freelancer for WKYT – simply flip-flopping his roles.
After leaving IMG as a fulltime employee in 2011, Dick returned to WKYT in his current role as a special projects producer, creating specials and features and also producing the 10 a.m. newscasts.
“It’s great being back with the operation on a daily basis, albeit in a different role,” he says. “It’s nice being part of this team. And it really is a team effort.”
In addition to his TV work, Dick has extensive experience in radio as well. He launched the first radio sports talk show in central Kentucky in 1980, for WVLK-AM, and currently hosts “Big Blue Insider” Monday through Friday on WLAP-AM. His resume’ includes 11 years spent as a reporter and producer with the NCAA radio network, working the tournament during March Madness.
For the past 24 seasons, he has been the sidelines radio reporter for the UK football network. He also has worked periodically as the anchor for both the football and basketball radio networks, as the sidelines reporter for the UK TV network broadcasts of football and basketball, and he’s done TV and radio play-by-play work for UK softball, baseball and volleyball.
A three-time Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year, in 2005 Dick produced and hosted a documentary on Adolph Rupp, examining the UK coaching legend’s reputation as a segregationist. It was widely-acclaimed in central Kentucky and was named Best Documentary in the Ohio Valley region by the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 1992, following the retirement of longtime UK play-by-play voice Cawood Ledford, Dick produced and hosted a documentary on the legendary broadcaster. It was named both the best documentary and best sports program in the state of Kentucky by the Associated Press, the only double-winner of its kind in the history of WKYT.
“Cawood was an idol of mine,” Dick says. “To be able to work with him on the UK network, and then put together a show like that when he retired – that was quite a thrill.”