Voice of the Daytona 500
January 22, 2013
In remarks entered Tuesday in the Congressional Record, Sen. Bernie Sanders recognized Ken Squier, the “Voice of the Daytona 500” and a Vermont native widely respected in the motor sports and broadcast communities. Squier, 77, is the owner of independent Radio Vermont, Inc. and a famous NASCAR contributor, holding an 18-year-long tenure as the lap-by-lap announcer for the Daytona 500. The pioneer broadcaster in 1979 convinced CBS Sports to broadcast the entire NASCAR race, an event that ESPN later described as “NASCAR’s revolutionary event” which led to the sports’ massive popularity today.
Squier is the owner and CEO of WDEV radio in Waterbury, Vt., where he began his on-air career at the age of 12. His first race commentary occurred during a stock car race at age 14. In 1960, Squier opened Thunder Road International SpeedBowl, a quarter-mile racetrack and cultural fixture in Barre, Vt.
Squier co-founded the Motor Racing Network in 1969. That same year, he became president of Radio Vermont, running one of the only independent radio companies left in the United States. Its stations have a local community focus, praised by Sen. Sanders for its resistance to corporate acquisition.
In the aftermath of the 2011 Tropical Storm Irene, the most destructive storm to hit Vermont in decades, Squier and his staff kept Radio Vermont on the air 24 hours a day to broadcast vital emergency information. This assisted various Vermonters cut off from information after the state’s emergency communications equipment washed away.
On Nov. 29, 2012, Squier was presented with the Buddy Shuman Award for his “key role in the continued growth and success of Cup racing.” He is a four-time Emmy nominee, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and was named Citizen of the Year by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce in 2007.
“Ken has staunchly opposed corporate consolidation of the media,” Sanders said. “He believes, strongly, that radio stations should serve the community and provide vital conduits for local information. He has practiced what he preaches.”