Legendary Fort Wayne WKJG broadcaster Hilliard Gates to be inducted posthumously into Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame

Hilliard Gates in the WKJG-TV, Channel 33 studios. (File photo by news-sentinel.com)

The late Hilliard Gates, known in Fort Wayne and beyond for his play-by-play of Indiana high school basketball and more, will be among the 2018 inductees into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.

Gates, who moved to Fort Wayne to work with WOWO/WGL in 1940, was Indiana Sportscaster of the Year seven times and a member of Indiana’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Gates’ broadcasting career began in his hometown of Muskegon, Mich. In 1947 he became general manager and on-air personality for WKJG Radio.

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Gates’ early career was highlighted by play-by-play of the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons fast-pitch softball and basketball games. In 1950, he handled play-by-play for the Mutual Radio Network’s broadcast of the first NBA All-Star Game, played that year in the Boston Garden.

Gates broadcast the 1967 and 1968 Rose Bowl games on NBC Radio and broadcast more than 135 Indiana University basketball games on the Farm Bureau Television Network. Closely associated with the Indiana high school basketball tournament broadcasts, he appeared as himself in the movie “Hoosiers.” Gates worked as the sports director at WKJG for many years and later served as station general manager and vice president. Gates retired in 1993 and died in 1996 at the age of 80.

Other members of the 2018 class are Larry Hayes, former editorial page editor of The Journal Gazette; Ken Armstrong, a Carmel native who shared the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism; Sandra Eisert, who was the country’s first woman newspaper picture editor and first picture editor for the White House; and Thomas Wayne Tuley, former editor of the Evansville Press and editor/publisher of the Evansville Courier.

The 2018 Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame induction will be May 18 at the Marriott at Keystone, Indianapolis.