(Sept. 25, 1919-Feb. 11, 2011). Radio and television broadcaster, public address announcer, sports columnist, and documentary filmmaker, Tom Carnegie was born Carl Lee Kenagy in Norwalk, Connecticut. The son of a Baptist minister, he moved with his family to Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri while growing up. He was an excellent high school athlete who played basketball, football, and baseball. A polio-related illness in his senior year of high school ended his athletic career and prompted him to transfer his passion to covering sports.
While his family lived in Iowa, he listened to a young Ronald Reagan’s radio broadcasts and later said that Reagan’s style influenced his own. While attending William Jewell College, located in Liberty, Missouri, he began his broadcast career at KITE radio station in Kansas City.
When he graduated from college in 1942, Carnegie took a job with WOWO radio station in Fort Wayne, Indiana., who then was the station’s program manager, convinced him to take Tom Carnegie as his on-air name. He used the name throughout the rest of his career but never changed his legal name.
In 1945, Carnegie moved to Indianapolis to become sports director forradio station in Indianapolis. He also began writing a sports column for , which was owned by the same man who owned the radio station, .
In 1953, Carnegie became sports director for WFBM-TV, the predecessor ofin Indianapolis. He stayed in that role until he retired in 1985. Along the way, he introduced the daily trackside reports from the during the May run-up to the .
It was, though, as an announcer that he earned his greatest fame. He was the public address announcer for the 500 from 1946 through 2006. His distinctive and rumbling voice was as much a part of the Speedway as the bricks themselves.
Carnegie also served as the voice of Indiana’s famed high school basketball tournament. He began that role in 1953 and continued for 24 years. His contributions earned him a bit part in the 1986 movie Hoosiers, where he played the announcer at the climactic championship game filmed at.
He was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1987. He also was honored by the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.