NewsCovering Kentucky


Al Smith remembered: "He was a legend"

Al Smith on One on One from 2012.jpg
Posted at 9:17 PM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-21 00:05:11-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Longtime host of KET's 'Comment on Kentucky' Al Smith passed away Friday at the age of 94.

When you say his name to those who knew him well, one word tends to come from their mouths.

“He was a legend,” said former Kentucky governor John Y Brown Jr.

“It's very trite to say somebody was a living legend and irreplaceable, but really, he and his vast knowledge really are irreplaceable,” said former LEX 18 news anchor Sue Wylie.

Smith wasn't born in Kentucky, but he made a name for himself after moving to the state to continue a decades-long career in journalism. He was the founding host of 'Comment on Kentucky' on KET, which began in 1974 and featured a panel of journalists discussing state news. He held that position for more than 30 years. That's where former governor John Y Brown Jr. had some of many interactions with Smith.

“I've been on so many debate shows with him for governor candidates or people running for office. He just brought a great style and credibility to journalism and to our proud state,” said Brown.

Wylie also connected with Smith over his KET position. While at LEX 18, she joined the show's panel as a journalist and would also fill in for Smith as host. Wylie says he loved to talk, especially about politics, and had a wealth of knowledge.

“I don't think there was a political secret in Lexington, in Kentucky that Al didn't know about,” said Wylie. “It was a very free and easy relationship with him. He knew so much and was willing to share it.”

She says those traits will make up his legacy.

Governor Andy Beshear also released a statement on Twitter, calling Smith a “titan in the world of journalism.”