The stellar media career of iconic Queensland sports commentator Billy J Smith has been recognised with induction into the Suncorp Stadium Media Wall of Fame today.
Speaking at the induction, Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni paid tribute to Mr Smith’s positive impact on the Queensland sporting community in his years behind the microphone for both radio and television.
“With a career spanning five decades, Billy J Smith was one of the true voices of Queensland sport, and as a media icon, his inclusion on the Suncorp Stadium Wall of Fame is one of the best ways to ensure his legacy is remembered,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Having called the first State of Origin in 1980 and then the Brisbane Broncos during the early years, Billy made an enormous contribution to the success of rugby league in this state and no doubt attracted a whole legion of new fans to the game.
“This is the sort of passion for sport that Queenslanders are renowned for, and the kind of enthusiasm that gets kids turning up for practice and matches week after week.”
Former colleague Pat Welsh said it was a fitting tribute for a great mate, and icon of the industry.
“As the host of Channel Seven’s Sportscene program, Billy was a pioneer in our industry, a great mentor and a great mate,” Mr Welsh said.
“His death has been a huge loss for the media and sporting industry, but it is wonderful his career of achievement and passion for the game has been recognised, at the spiritual home of rugby league in this state.”
Suncorp Stadium Manager Alan Graham said the Wall of Fame acknowledged the hard work of those most used to acknowledging others.
“Suncorp Stadium has been host to successes both on and off the field, and this wall of fame acknowledges some of the many identities such as Billy J Smith, who have contributed to the game, and to the great venue this stadium has become,” Mr Graham said.
Billy J Smith is a Queensland legend and it was an honour to unveil his plaque on the @suncorpstadium Media Hall of Fame with his family this morning. A fitting colour for the first State of Origin caller #QLDER pic.twitter.com/mtohi8IDUf— Mick de Brenni (@MickdeBrenni) May 30, 2019
Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni