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From the left:  WTIM president Randal J. Miller, Radio Voice of the Fighting Illini Brian Barnhart, Kiwanis Club president Gina Prinzavalli.

The Radio Voice of the Fighting Illini, Brian Barnhart, was Tuesday’s guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium. Barnhart was hosted by Kiwanis member and owner of the Miller Media Group Randal J. Miller. Miller’s newstalk station in Taylorville WTIM Newstalk 97.3 has been a long-time Illini Radio Network affiliate.

Barnhart has been the play-by-play announcer for University of Illinois football and mens basketball broadcasts, for some 10 years, and told the Kiwanis Club that while it was a tough year for the Illini football team, the mens basketball team was a bit of a surprise heading into the NCAA tournament. Both teams had new coaches last year.

Barnhart added that this season, the football team should show improvement with the addition of several junior college recuits, while the Fighting Illini mens basketball team will also have lots of new faces.

Barnhart said the thing he likes the most about his job is the opportunity to connect with listeners thru-out the state thru the radio.

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In a question-and-answer session after his remarks, Barnhart said that while there is wide support to bring back Chief Illiniwek, it’s unlikely to happen because of the N-C-A-A ruling against the mascot. He also said last season’s call of the end of the Illinois-Indiana basketball game, where Illinois won the game with a last second shot, was probably the most exciting call of his career.

The Taylorville Kiwanis Club is a global organization dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Weekly meetings are held Tuesdays at noon at the Taylorville Memorial Hospital auditorium.


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