CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice honored Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia with a Certificate of Recognition on Monday for its volunteer-based coverage of boys and girls basketball across the state.
In the certificate, Governor Justice recognized Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia “for outstanding coverage of boys and girls high school basketball.” Governor Justice, a frequent call-in guest on the program because of his role as a veteran high school basketball coach, had previously praised the program for bringing a voice to student-athletes and teams from all corners of West Virginia.
“As Governor, I commend all the volunteers involved for their hard work and commitment to making this radio production a success,” Governor Justice said.
Senator Mark Maynard (R-Wayne) presented the certificate to Executive Producer Fred Damron during a ceremony in the Governor’s Reception Room attended by more than two dozen volunteers, contributors and friends of the program, as well as officials representing Wayne County Schools and Marshall University.
“The Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia staff is honored and humbled by this official acknowledgment by Governor Justice of the staff’s unwavering efforts to celebrate all of the on and off court accomplishments and community pride associated with both boys and girls high school basketball throughout West Virginia. Providing our listeners with an entertaining, informative and high quality program is what drives all of our staff volunteers. Receiving compliments from players, their coaches, their school’s personnel, their family members, as well as fellow mass media members who cover their local teams and our affiliates make worthwhile all of the long hours required to produce Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia each Friday from 9 p.m. until midnight when both the boys’ and girls’ seasons start in November until their state tournaments conclude in March. We all are grateful Governor Justice believes all of our individual staff members’ contributions to this live radio program should not go unrewarded by him when he added for the record his kind compliments through his Certificate of Recognition bestowed upon all involved,” said Dr. Chuck G. Bailey, professor of Radio-Television Production and Management in the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University and faculty manager of WMUL-FM.
Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia first aired from the studios of WMUL-FM in Huntington, W.Va. on December 13, 2013. Since then, the program has featured hundreds of student-athletes, coaches, sportscasters and sportswriters from across West Virginia.
Beginning with the 2014-2015 season, Basketball Friday Night moved its production to the Marshall University School of Journalism and Mass Communications high-definition television studio, giving listeners the ability to watch the program live from computers and smartphones. The program has given students valuable hands-on experience creating a live audio production with a video component that is heard and viewed by thousands of people every week during the high school basketball season.
“In 2011, WFGH-FM established its 10-year operating plan with one of the stated goals being to create statewide radio programs beginning with a basketball talk format program so our radio station could provide a voice to high school student athletes,” said Fred Damron, General Manager and Chief Engineer of WFGH, WVWP and WASP. Throughout 2012 and 2013, I along with many others worked diligently to achieve this goal. It was a very proud moment for all of us when Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia launched on WFGH-FM and WMUL-FM on December 13, 2013. The combined efforts, resources and volunteers from WFGH-FM, West Virginia’s first high school operated radio station, along with WMUL-FM, West Virginia’s first public radio station, turned our stated goal into a reality that has exceeded my expectations. I can’t thank the volunteers enough. I am very grateful Governor Justice has taken his time to recognize the successful efforts of all of our volunteers. They deserve it.”
Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia is entirely run by student and community volunteers. The on-air hosts of the live three hour weekly program are Ryan Epling, Tolsia Rebels girls’ basketball coach Ric Morrone, Joe Linville and Bill Cornwell. Statewide, Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia reaches 1.2 million potential radio listeners, with an on-air presence in 36 West Virginia counties. Live video of Basketball Friday Night in West Virginia is broadcast statewide on Suddenlink’s Network West Virginia, in Wayne County on Armstrong Digital Cable Channel 204 and in Huntington on Comcast Channel 25.
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