Remembering Marty Ricker

Marky Billson
2 min readAug 12, 2021

The east Tennessee radio veteran with a strong sportscasting background passed away last month. He was just 53.

Saddened to hear local east Tennessee sportscaster Marty Ricker passed away last month at the young age of 53.

For those of you who don’t know, Ricker was my successor as a sports talk show host at WEMB in 1997. I was let go not because of anything I had done, but something the then-station management had heard I’d done.

Unethical. And under the circumstances, you’ll forgive me if I didn’t want to like Ricker, whose style was much more “country” than mine is.

One lasting legacy of Ricker’s work was introducing WJHL sportscaster Kenny Hawkins to radio as a frequent guest. For more than a decade Hawkins has now co-hosted a morning show on WXSM three days a week.

But Ricker won my respect during when it came out that Marv Albert was kinky. Though I realize Albert pled guilty to a misdemeanor regarding his sexual appetites, on his show Ricker defended Albert from some of his more embarrassing, but not criminal, revelations.

This was not something the station management of WEMB, other local radio hosts, or the conservative east Tennessee populace would generally defend.

Ricker did.

That showed courage most other hosts working in the market do not have.

If for no other reason than his courage, Marty Ricker will be missed.

Follow Marky Billson on medium and You Tube!