Matt Jones: From Sports Radio to Politics

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

In a few hours, Kentucky Sports Radio founder Matt Jones will try his hand at new job as emcee of the political speeches at the Fancy Farm picnic. The choice of Jones to host the event was puzzling to some. But Mark Wilson, who organizes the speeches at Fancy Farm, says he tapped Jones because he believes the radio host will appeal to a younger audience who enjoy his daily sports talk show.

I caught up with Jones in Pikeville, one stop of Kentucky Sports Radio’s multi-city summer broadcast tour. He talked about his inspiration to put aside his legal career to pursue a media venture that has earned him thousands of fans. Jones says his idea to enter the blogosphere was sparked former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who pioneered online voter engagement strategies during his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004.

KET’s exclusive live coverage hosted by Bill Goodman and me starts at 2:30. And be sure to follow me on Twitter @ReneeKET for updates.

What the 2011 Governor’s Race Might Tell Us About This Year’s Contest

Friday, July 31st, 2015

KET is Fancy Farm bound for the 135th annual picnic that’s famous for its old-fashioned political stump speaking. Every first Saturday in August, elected officials and those seeking statewide office face a raucous crowd eager to hurl partisan insults their way.

This year Kentucky’s major-party gubernatorial nominees are the headliners. We’ll also witness a bit of history as lieutenant governor nominee Janean Hampton will be the first African-American female to speak at the picnic as a statewide candidate. She’s running on the GOP ticket with Matt Bevin. The ballot is heavy with female contenders this year. State Rep. Sannie Overly is the running mate with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway.

Gender politics aside, University of Kentucky political science professor Stephen Voss says the quest to become the commonwealth’s next CEO is showing some familiar trends. But Voss notes that recent voting patterns indicate the Kentucky electorate may be less interested in the governor’s race than in federal contests.

KET will have more analysis of the governor’s race and the down-ballot contests from Fancy Farm. Our exclusive live coverage hosted by yours truly and Bill Goodman starts tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. And be sure to follow me on Twitter @ReneeKET for updates.

If you want to hear some great stories about colorful Fancy Farm political characters through the years, visit Bill’s blog for that video.

Legislators at Impasse on Funding Teacher Pensions

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

A measure to address unfunded liabilities in the state teacher retirement system may be headed to a conference committee after Senators amended a House bill to replace a bonding proposal with a task force to further study the issue.

Renee details the Senate debate on the matter.

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