Famous Detroit Sportscaster Bernie Smilovitz Retires with Memorable Farewell

Bernie Smilovitz, a name synonymous with sports broadcasting in Detroit, has retired after an extraordinary 38-year career. Known for his dynamic personality and engaging on-air antics, Smilovitz bid farewell to his viewers last week, delivering a sign-off that has been hailed as “The Greatest Goodbye in Television History.”

Bernie’s career began in Washington, D.C., where he honed his skills before briefly attempting to break into the New York sports scene. However, it was in Detroit that he found his true calling and became a beloved fixture in the local sports community.

Over nearly four decades, Bernie covered an array of sports teams, including the Detroit Lions, Red Wings, Pistons, Tigers, and the University of Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans. He also reported on numerous college and high school sports programs, becoming a trusted source of sports news for Detroit residents.

Throughout his career, Bernie was known not just for his sports coverage but also for his ability to entertain. His broadcasts were often filled with humor, quirky segments, and lighthearted banter that endeared him to viewers of all ages. Whether he was delivering breaking sports news or sharing amusing anecdotes, Bernie’s presence on screen was a constant source of joy and excitement.

Bernie’s final broadcast was a fitting tribute to his illustrious career. He began by thanking the many mentors and colleagues who had supported him over the years, acknowledging the invaluable contributions of those who had hired, fired, and given him opportunities to grow in his profession. His gratitude extended to the production teams, technical staff, and everyone who worked behind the scenes to make his broadcasts possible.

The emotional highlight of Bernie’s farewell was his recounting of his two favorite on-air moments. The first involved an interview with a Japanese athlete at the Olympics who knew very little English.

Despite the language barrier, Bernie managed to create a memorable and heartwarming segment that showcased his ability to connect with people from all walks of life—the second moment revolved around a humorous incident with the Atlanta Hawks during the NFL Draft, which left viewers in stitches and demonstrated Bernie’s knack for finding humor in unexpected places.

In a poignant segment, Bernie also spoke about his late wife, whom he lost last year. He expressed deep gratitude for the love and support he received from his colleagues at Local 4 in Detroit during that difficult time. Their unwavering support helped him navigate through his grief and continue doing what he loved.

As Bernie signed off for the last time, the broadcast was filled with a mix of laughter, tears, and nostalgia. His farewell was not just a goodbye but a celebration of a remarkable career that touched countless lives. Viewers and colleagues alike praised his contribution to sports journalism and his ability to make every broadcast special.

Bernie’s retirement marks the end of an era for Detroit sports broadcasting. However, his legacy will continue to inspire future generations of journalists and broadcasters. As he steps into this new chapter of his life, Bernie leaves behind a community that will forever remember his contributions and the joy he brought to their screens.

Fans and colleagues alike can watch Bernie’s full nine-minute farewell, a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to sports journalism with passion, humor, and a genuine love for the game. Enjoy your retirement, Bernie – Detroit will never forget you.

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