Voice of Vashon has been broadcasting the Vashon High School Pirates baseball, football, and basketball games live this year. Kevin Linnell and John Yates are announcing the basketball games this winter with JoJo Weller providing statistics.
Kevin Linnell, who handles color commentary, says “I had been talking with John Yates about doing broadcast of Vashon sports events for seven years.” We travelled to state tournaments to watch Vashon teams play and many small communities were broadcasting the games to their hometowns. We thought why not do this for Vashon.” This past summer they got their chance when VHS varsity football coach Andy Sears asked if they would be interested in announcing fall games. Kevin recalls “We said yes right away because we really wanted to do this to generate community support for our local sports teams.”
John Yates, who does play-by-play, is very enthusiastic about the broadcasts and has a personal interest because his son Sam plays on the varsity football team this year. Yates credits many individuals at Voice of Vashon for making the live broadcasts possible. “Dan Schueler has really put a ton of effort to make the technical side work for us. And Michael Golen-Johnson is invaluable back at the station to make the live feeds available on Voice of Vashon’s web radio station. Michael also adds to the commentary by asking us key questions about what’s happening on the court.” Yates, who is owner of Vashon True Value, and Linnell, who is the general manager, felt so strongly about announcing the games for the community they even purchased their own broadcast-quality headsets.
Preben Martin, who grew up on Vashon Island and is sports broadcast director with ESPN since 1997, was instrumental in creating a team of volunteers to make the live broadcasts possible. Preben had imagined bringing his professional sports broadcasting expertise to Island sports and mentioned his idea to Voice of Vashon. A meeting ensued that led to baseball, football and basketball games being streamed live at VoiceOfVashon.org. The first games to be broadcast were high school baseball games last summer with Jeff Hoyt and Lance Morgan announcing.
Preben envisions including more sporting events such as women’s soccer and volleyball, in the future and creating a mentorship program where students can learn from broadcast professionals. He says “We tried play-by-play some years ago but it was a challenge to get going. Now I’m excited about the potential to make it happen because there’s a better structure in place and a lot of talented people involved.”
Jean Bosch, new president of VoV, is very excited by how this partnership has developed. “It really is Island-powered media” she commented. “Voice of Vashon exists to support islanders in producing this kind of great programming. We hope it grows.”
You can listen to the games broadcast live by tuning into Voice of Vashon’s web radio station at VoiceOfVashon.org.
Voice of Vashon also has plans for a new web platform to be launched next year. Jean Bosch says “We are in the process of creating a new website to combine community content contributions we now receive into one media hub to make it easy for Islanders to access them. It will include everything from 1650AM emergency alerts, social media, live sports broadcasts to jazz shows, community meetings and live performances.”