How a young David Kellum learned from Jack Cristil

David Kellum, as a fan of radio, said he grew up listening to Jack Cristil, the legnedary Mississippi State broadcaster who passed away Sunday evening.

“When I was named the voice of the Rebels in 1989 I had actually been associated with the school for a number of years, but when I was named the lead announcer, he was the third person to call me. No. 3. That really impressed me, just blew me away. In 1989 it was intimidating to go into this league and look around, and there were guys like John Ward at Tennessee, Larry Munson at Georgia, Cawood Ledford at Kentucky and Jim Hawthorne at LSU. I felt I was deserving, but it was very intimidating to say the least.”

Kellum said Cristil immediatley offered his help.

“He said, ‘David, congratulations on being named the voice of the Rebels. If there is anything I can ever do you’ve got my number. Just give me a call.’ I just said, ‘Just give me some advice.’”

That advice was to make sure listeners knew the score and to remember the nuts and bolts of the broadcast.

“He said, ‘You need to stick to the basics and stay away from all that extra stuff,’” Kellum said.

Kellum said Cristil was a master of the craft.

“You start with the voice, and he had an incredible voice, a gift for sure, but there are a lot of great voices. He painted that picture as good as anybody in radio. It’s very important to make the person feel like they are sitting with you and that you are having a conversation with them. If you closed your eyes you felt like you were in the stadium because Jack Cristil was doing his job.

“He may have been the best technician … giving the time, score, down and distance, all the technical stuff the guys on TV don’t have to do. He was very consistent throughout his career.

“He said, ‘Give the score until you’re sick of giving the score.”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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    Jack was an awesome announcer. His broadcasts always were fair to everyone, because he called them as they were. As a Rebel, I say one time for Jack wrap him in maroon and white.

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