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John Asher, Churchill Downs

John Asher, vice president of communications at Churchill Downs, has worked in the thoroughbred racing industry as a journalist and a publicist for more than 20 years.

Asher joined Churchill Downs in January 1997 and has served in his current position since March 1999. In that position, he oversees communications and public relations efforts at Churchill Downs, the home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby and the flagship operation of Churchill Downs Incorporated.

As a radio journalist at WHAS-AM and WAVE-AM in Louisville, Asher earned five Eclipse Awards for Outstanding National Radio Coverage of Thoroughbred Racing as well as several other awards recognizing his coverage of the horse industry. John Asher with Candyce Clifft His work on other issues earned such recognition as a National Headliner Award; a Scripps-Howard Award; and honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio and Television News Directors Association, and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association. The Associated Press honored Asher as the Best Reporter in Kentucky Large-Market Radio seven times, and he was recognized as Public Relations Practitioner of the Year by the Western Kentucky University School of Journalism and Broadcasting in 2003.

Asher is a past president of the Turf Publicists of America and serves as vice president of Kentucky Thoroughbred Media. He is also a member of the board of trustees of WLKY-32’s Spirit of Louisville Foundation, which oversees the annual Bell Awards; the board of directors of the Kentuckiana Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, for which he is also vice president of communications; the boards of directors of the Western Kentucky University Alumni Association and the Catholic Education Foundation; and the Presentation Academy board of trustees.

A native of Leitchfield, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from WKU. He lives in Louisville with his wife, Dee, and three daughters.

Program 124
Native son and radio personality Bob Edwards; the Frazier International History Museum; a local story of escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad; a history of black jockeys; and an interview with John Asher, vice president of communications at Churchill Downs. (#124)