“We are excited to partner with ScoresBroadcast.com starting on Friday,” said Steve Wagner of Sidney, new local station manager for WMVR, 105.5 TAM FM, as he announced the return of high school sports to the radio for Shelby County and west central Ohio.
“In the past, the station had an outstanding reputation for broadcasting high school athletics contests,” Wagner said. “I am very pleased to say that Sidney radio is renewing this tradition in programming that previously spanned much of five decades through 2006.”
Radio station 105.5 TAM FM receives the feed from ScoresBroadcast.com on Friday at 7 p.m. as Jackson Center hosts Botkins in the season opener for boys basketball in the area. Online and radio simulcast coverage of 60 to 70 boys and girls hoops contests will follow into March.
Jackson Center finished 22-5 last March and was still alive in the state basketball tournament as a regional finalist when the health crisis canceled the event. The Tigers were second in the Shelby County Athletic League with a mark of 9-3 behind league champ Anna at 11-1.
Botkins closed with a record of 18-7 last year and 7-5 in league play, good enough for a third place tie with Fort Loramie. The Trojans nipped Jackson Center, 46-43, in overtime, at home in February. The Tigers won easily on their floor, 46-22, in the two schools’ first head-to-head meeting last January.
SCORES, the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System, was on hand for that three-point thriller between the two clubs during the 2019-2020 campaign. Jack Kramer and Chuck McBee once again call the action on Friday beginning with a pregame segment at 7 that features both head coaches.
“We may treat a very large listening audience to another great Tigers-Trojans game,” Kramer said.
“Jackson Center is one of the league favorites, and Botkins is capable of beating any team in the league at any time. Two talented squads,” he noted. “It will be a game of pace. The Tigers are so good at limiting the opposition’s shots and offensive possessions.”
Kramer added, “It’s something really special to have the radio station benefit from our Internet coverage. The high school sports fans now have one more opportunity for connecting with their team. With a lot of enthusiasm, Chuck and I can’t wait for Friday night.”
Wagner noted, “High school sports are positive and engaging to all community members. The radio station is very happy to be a part of the local sports scene once again.”
Timing for the partnership is excellent. Listenership numbers for SCORES free online service and for 105.5 TAM FM will soar. Because of the health crisis, the state has mandated that high schools limit gymnasium attendance to the lesser of two totals, 300 or 15% of gym capacity. Spectators are spaced throughout the bleachers.
At Jackson Center, Jack and Chuck are perched in the first row of the slightly raised stands behind the midcourt scorer’s table where they will have Internet access. But on-site coverage won’t be this easy at other venues because media may get squeezed out of their normal seats.
As a result, numerous high schools in west central Ohio are placing the SCORES announce team in unique and different spots such as expanded areas beyond the end of the basketball court, in mezzanine locations more than six feet away from spectators, and even on pep band platforms in the corners of stands.
“We found a place for Jack and Chuck without cutting into our seat allotment,” said Zack Freeling, athletic director at Fairlawn, which has one of the smallest high school gyms in the region. “We want everyone to have a chance to hear the online and radio coverage.”
Jack and Chuck are the “masked announcers” and have a lot of fun webcasting the high school games.
“People may not see our big smiles because of our mouth coverings,” McBee said. “But we love what we do.”
January marks SCORES’ fifteenth calendar year covering high school sports. Kramer free-lanced for WMVR-FM for several years before he, Jeff Bray, Mike Wick, Mark Jordan, and the late Matt Zircher got SCORES off the ground.
Kramer performed radio play-by-play in 2006 when Anna won the Division III state volleyball championship, going 30-0. He was also on the radio in the spring of 2007 when Fort Loramie won the Division IV state baseball title.
SCORES was conceived with the start of basketball in November 2007. Several months later, it was present in Columbus for the Division III girls basketball finals won by Versailles and the Division IV boys basketball finals won by New Knoxville.
In 2013, the online streaming service webcasted Anna and Fort Loramie girls state hoops championships on the same day in Columbus.
Since its inception, SCORES has served more than 1.5-million users. The Internet is the only true “super mobile, go-anywhere” medium for high school sports.
The Internet-radio partnership now enables SCORES to augment its coverage in west central Ohio thanks to extremely broad signal strength provided by 105.5 TAM FM. It reaches listeners in all or parts of these Ohio counties: Allen, Auglaize, Clark, Hardin, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, and Shelby. The station also serves Jay and Randolph counties in Indiana.