When journalists make friends within the industry, their friendship usually stays strong no matter which way career paths might take them.
In the case of the Arab Tribune’s sports editor Mike Tankersley, his friendship with the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum goes all the way back to the early 1980’s. The two don’t talk quite as much as they once did, but they were both able to pick right up where they left off this past week.
During a Paul Finebaum Show broadcast on Tuesday at about 3 p.m., Tankersley was able to call the show and talk with Finebaum about the 1978 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team and a few other subjects.
Near the end of the call Finebaum paused and said, “Mike, I’m embarrassed to say this but I just realized who you were. I’ve known Mike for a long time and can’t believe I didn’t recognize you until now.”
Tankersley laughed and said, “You probably would’ve known me sooner if I said I was Tank.”
Finebaum replied and said he definitely would have known him by Tank. Finebaum asked Tankersley why he hadn’t heard from him in all this time.
“You’re a hard guy to get a hold of these days,” Tankersley laughed.
Finebaum put Tankersley on hold and said he’d be calling him back. The famous radio and TV host was true to his word and called Tankersley back the following day.
“We talked for a good 45 minutes,” Tankersley said. “We knew each other quite well when I was at the Montgomery Advertiser. The conversation was great and laid back. It was like we’d not gone all this time without talking.”
In the early 2000’s, Tankersley and Finebaum became friends when Finebaum’s radio show began branching out of Birmingham. While at the Montgomery Advertiser, Tankersley wrote a column about Finebaum’s radio show. Shortly after that column, a radio affiliate in Montgomery picked up Finebaum’s show.
Tankersley began working at the Montgomery Advertiser in 1983 after graduating from the University of Alabama. While at UA, Tankersley became the editor at the the school paper The Crimson White in 1981. He came back home to the Arab Tribune in 2012 where he still works today.