W. James Host
Jim Host is chairman of Host Communications, Inc., which he founded in Lexington, KY in 1972. The company became a subsidiary of Bull Run Corporation in December 1999.
Host began his career as a sportscaster in 1957 and was a play-by-play announcer of University of Kentucky football and basketball for the Kentucky Central Sports Network and WVLK-Radio. He joined Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati where he spent several years in marketing and sales. He returned to Lexington in 1964 and was involved with his own real estate, building and insurance companies until he entered politics in 1967.
At age 29, he became the youngest member of Kentucky Governor Louie Nunn's Cabinet as the commissioner of the Department of Public
Information and then Commissioner of the Department of Parks where he worked to initiate the Kentucky Horse Park. He became the Republican Party's nominee for Lieutenant Governor, but lost in the general election. Host opened Jim Host & Associates in 1972. His first contract was with the Lexington Tourist and Convention Bureau, which led to the formation of the Lexington Center Corporation and the building of Rupp Arena. The company began rapid development in 1974 with two contracts, a basketball and football radio agreement with the University of Kentucky and an executive management relationship with the National Tour Association.
The company has become nationally known for the administration of affinity, lifestyle, sports marketing and association management for universities, high school athletic conferences, associations and corporations. It was named one of the top five sports marketing companies in the world by SportsBusiness Journal in May 2000.
Universities contracted by HOST include Boston College, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi State, Purdue, Tennessee and Texas. The company has marketing agreements with the Metro Atlantic Athletic, Southeastern and Southern conferences.
Active in civic and charitable activities, Host has chaired many campaigns and has been associated with more than 40 organizations and boards. He has received a number of honors from myriad interests. Host, for example, in 2000 was named to the University of Kentucky Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame and the state of Kentucky's Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2001, he received one of Kentucky's top civic awards, Kentuckian of the Year by the Chandler Foundation. Host is past-chair of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, and past-president of the Lexington Rotary Club and the Bluegrass Council of Boy Scouts.
He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and was awarded one of the University's first baseball scholarships. He played briefly in the Chicago White Sox system until an arm injury forced him to retire.
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