It’s Tri-Cities Sports NOW with Marky Billson’s Second Anniversary!

Marky Billson
4 min readSep 5, 2018


What’s different about this show. And what it delivers.

Marky Billson, Host of Tri-Cities Sports NOW

Welcome to the second anniversary show of Tri-Cities Sports NOW.

You’ve probably noticed we do things different here.

I’m Marky Billson. Sports Talk Show Host Extraordinaire. And I fight the system.

I’m paraphrasing the introduction to my favorite episode of television of all time, The Dukes of Hazzard pilot “One Armed Bandits,” but let’s talk about “fighting the system.”

The “system” of sports media in the Tri-Cities has often been one of glorified public relations.

That’s why Matt Davis of the Johnson City Cardinals thought he could get away with demanding I show him the questions I was going to ask Nolan Gorman.

I refused. I told you about it. Where does a sports franchise get off trying to dictate editorial content?

Come to think of it, it’d be disturbing if they were.

I’ve been called intelligent, obnoxious, thought-provoking, verbose and witty. And I’m all of those things.

In this business one must have a tough skin. The glamour of the microphone is quite attractive, but with it comes the criticism, most of it unfair. I’ve had people falsely accuse me of crimes and of course get the standard “you stink” replies.

But that’s okay. Because they’re wrong. It’s not if you agree with me, it’s that you want to comment and listen. Agreeing with what everyone else says is hardly thought-provoking.

But to go along those lines, on March 12 of this year a message board devoted to ETSU sports gave the standard barbs a sports talk show will receive, but then revealed this truth:

“I think he asks much better questions than the WXSM guys do. Its like WXSM is afraid to upset [Steve] Forbes so they ask softball questions constantly and never get any real answers. Marky isn’t afraid to ask the questions.”

Less than a half hour later came:

“He isn’t afraid to make things somewhat awkward.”

No, I’m not. Thank you, etsubuc and Brock20, whoever you are.

By the way, on the aforementioned rival station, a sports reporter spoke today on their airwaves of allowing others to ask the tough questions for him.


The main theme I deliver is sports in the Tri-Cities can be an avenue for a more cosmopolitan area.

A new arena would provide ETSU with a venue that would allow them to be nationally ranked again and more professional sports.

What would it mean to the Tri-Cities to have, say, an ECHL team while Knoxville, Roanoke, and Asheville would not?

Would it be great?

Not to mention the benefits of more events from concerts to religious services that would benefit everyone in the community, not just sports fans.

A AA Baseball franchise instead of the Mom and Pop Appalachian League would be nice, too. Frankly the caliber of play isn’t very good and the amount of players who spend any time in the Appy League that make the majors are minuscule.

The Elizabethton Twins are playing for the Appalachian League championship tonight. A town of 12,000 is interested.

If an AA franchise representing the entire area was playing for a title, it would have the interest of a metropolitan area of almost a half million people.

As I’ve said countless times, in 1990 the Tri-Cities and Las Vegas were essentially the same sized television market. The Tri-Cities was 92nd out of 210, and Vegas was 90th.

Twenty-eight years later, Vegas is 40th and we’re 99th.

Mayor Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas believed sports were imperative to his community’s growth. Here, they seem to be more of an afterthought, and the community is suffering because of that mindset as we shrink in relevance nationally.

They have neon. We have trees.

That’s what I’m trying to stop. I want the community to think bigger.

As Boss Hogg once said, “if a man don’t grow, he dies!”

The same can be said for a community.

Marky Billson hosts Tri-Cities Sports NOW on 1420 NBC Sports Radio Tri-Cities weekdays at 12–2 p.m. ET. Click on the link, or watch the archives here or here.