NASHVILLE – Mike Keith thought he was walking into the studio at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Wednesday to interview Hall of Famer Steve Hutchinson.
Instead, the Voice of the Titans got a surprise – Keith is heading into the Hall of Fame himself.
The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame today announced Keith as a member of the Class of 2020. Bob Kesling, the voice of the Vols and TNRHoF Board Member, surprised Keith with the news with his family and friends watching.
"To say I'm surprised would be an understatement," Keith said. "To know that the people who pick this are the peers that I respect the most in the business, because they're my colleagues in the state of Tennessee, that's what means the most. Because of all the people that I've always sought approval of, it's been the people in this state who are also in the business. So if they think enough of me for this, it's beyond humbling.
"There are a lot of great broadcasters that have come from this state, and there are a lot of them that are in this state now, and I respect them so much. When I drive, I listen to them and I marvel at how good they are. For them to think I do a good job is unbelievable special."
The Awards Ceremony will be held on Saturday, August 15, 2020 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center in Murfreesboro.
It's just the latest honor for Keith, a Battle Ground Academy graduate who worked as a student for the University of Tennessee's Vol Radio Network. Keith began working for the Titans (Houston Oilers) in 1996 and in 1999 became the play-by-play announcer.
Keith has been named as Tennessee Sportscaster of the Year 11 times since 2000, has won over 20 Associated Press state awards and has captured two national honors, including the industry's most prestigious award: the Edward R. Murrow Award for nationwide excellence in sports reporting.
"I remember when you got started in Knoxville," Kesling told Keith after delivering the news. "You were so eager to do anything. We did a lot of things together, and I watched you grow and grow. To come over and do this and be one of the best announcers in the NFL, and to do it in your hometown, it is really special. I am so proud of you, and so happy for you."
Keith's parents, his wife, and his brother were on hand for the surprise on Wednesday, along with members of the Titans Radio team and members of the Titans organization.
Keith joins other legendary broadcasters like Rick Dees, George Klein, Wink Martindale, Ralph Emory, Gerry House, Coyote McCloud, and the Vols' legendary broadcasters John Ward and Bobby Denton in the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, which was created in 2012 to honor all of the broadcasters who have contributed their talents over the years in the state. Pat Sajak was also inducted in 2013.
Keith recently completed his 22nd season with the Tennessee Titans in 2019.
In January of 2000, Keith called one of the greatest plays in NFL history, "The Music City Miracle," a last-second touchdown that gave the Titans an improbable playoff win over Buffalo. ESPN named Keith's description of the play as one of the 10 best radio calls in American sports history.
In addition to his play-by-play duties, Keith hosts Mike Vrabel's weekly radio show and the Titans All Access television show, provides extensive on-air coverage and analysis for TitansOnline.com, emcees all official Titans events and speaks to civic and business groups throughout the region.
Keith also calls Tennessee state championship events as part of the Titans' relationship with the TSSAA. In addition, he regularly hosts shows on Sirius XM NFL Radio and has done play-by-play for SEC-ESPN Network.
"I started when I was 17 (years old) in 1984," Keith said. "I am truly blown away that this happened in this way, wow, especially to be from Tennessee. This really means a lot."