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For the 2021 high school basketball season, our sister channel 96 Muskegon Public TV had filmed eight games from different schools throughout Muskegon County. The season is now concluded and they are all available to be viewed on 96 on-demand anytime.

With the rise of COVID-19, many things changed concerning high school sports. One of the most challenging things for us is the rise of pay per view (PPV) high school sports programs. We understand the logic behind PPV, as the school try to re-coup the lost revenues from ticket sales. But is there anything we can do as a public TV station can do to provide an opportunity for people to watch the games for free? We decided to try with tape delay games idea. Since its tape delay (prerecorded and shown at a later time), we are not in competition with the schools PPV live streams. We will go to different schools at different times so that we can showcase all the amazing athletes as much as possible within Muskegon county. While the idea seems interesting, we did not have any funding and by then it was already approaching the end of week one. In the end we got a green light when Webb Chemical Service Corporation of Muskegon Heights Corporation of Muskegon Heights stepped in and became the lead sponsor of the program. While we couldn’t make it to every single school in Muskegon County this year, we were able to give coverage to Mona Shores, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, West Michigan Christian, Orchard View, Oakridge, Ravenna, Whitehall and Montague (as well as Hart And Zeeland East as opponents). We are excited to finally be able to show the schools that you usually don’t see on this station.

What would a sport program be without commentators? That’s when we (re)recruited Jim McClain to be our play-by-play announcer. Jim is no stranger to the community, many of you knew Jim as the former Oakview and Bunker principal, a ref' who officiated high school basketball for twenty-two years, or as one the announcers form Muskegon Big Reds Basketball from 2011 to 2019 on the former Comcast Muskegon channel 98. Since Jim’s former partner Al Nichols retired from announcing in 2019, we had to find someone fast as we are approaching week two. Jim came up with the perfect idea, as a matter of fact, an “all-star cast”. Jim called up his friends as well as the some of the home team’s athletic department and see if there’s anyone would like to call the games with him. For the eight games, his guests partner included Ryan Wilson, a teacher at Orchard View, where his son is the freshman coach at North Muskegon. Shawn Liverance, a former sports writer with about 17 years’ experience at the Muskegon Chronicle.  Lotrel Watkins, the JV basketball coach at Orchard View. Dave Young, a 35-year veteran of officiating basketball games. As Jim said: “each guest broadcaster brought a background in basketball to the table and that helped them come across as knowledgeable of the game. They were also good communicators with knowledge of the game and the communities.”

We asked what was Jim’s most memorable moments in this year’s basketball season? It would be his prediction in the pre-game comments that the second time West Michigan Christian played Orchard View and the second time Lady Reds played Lady Sailors where the losers in the first games would look completely different the second time around. Instead of getting blown out of the gym like the first time they played. Indeed, the losers in both of those first games won in their second encounters. His biggest highlight from this season would be watching senior Kailyn Nash totally dominate in the rematch game at Redmon Potter against Shores to beat them after Shores dominated them in the earlier game this winter.

You can watch all of the basketball games by following this link
as well as 96 Muskegon Public TV’s ROKU and Fire TV Channels.

Thank you to our sponsors, all of the schools and announcers for making this possible.
96 Muskegon Public TV is a sister channel to The Muskegon Channel, available on Muskegon Comcast and on demand, managed by The O’Riley Media Group.