Marion TV crew to launch 7th season

In 1994, a group of sports enthusiasts from the Marion area televised the first Marion High School football game on a local cable station.

Several years later, the group now known as WTVN (Warrior Television Network), is anticipating its seventh year covering Warrior athletics.

“It was a struggling effort at first because the equipment we had borrowed from the cable company wasn’t good,” said Kevin Hoffer, color commentator.

“Mike Powers and I kind of picked it up and kept it going, for better or for worse.”

Outside of the courtroom, District Court Judge Mike Powers trades in his gavel for a headset and stat sheets as a play-by-play announcer.

“We make no pretense that we are professional-we know we’re not,” Powers said. “We try to do our best to copy the real announcers.”

Hoffer said of Powers: “He is a very good orator. That’s his bailiwick, to get up and do public speaking,” Hoffer said. “He’s not intimidated by that fact, so it can roll right off his tongue. Being a lawyer, I’ve never heard him shut up yet.”

The duo’s camaraderie has kept viewers interested in WTVN over the years.

Hoffer and Powers are among five of the original TV crew members still with the group.

“I’d never want him to hear this, but he and I have a chemistry together,” Hoffer said. “I can kind of anticipate what’s on his mind.

“I try to keep him crossed up as much as I can,” he added. It’s an amazing thing that he can read my mind sometimes.”

In the last couple of years, WTVN has added several new faces as well as thousands of dollars in new equipment.

Gene Winkler, chief of photography, is one of new team members who has helped the crew excel, Hoffer said.

“With the addition of Gene Winkler, the technical part of it really picked up as far as what we were able to accomplish,” Hoffer said. “Now we’re doing instant replay, sideline cameras, bla-bla-bla.

“Through our sponsorship, we were able to generate the revenue to buy more equipment.”

Community support and its passion for sports is what has kept WTVN motivated season after season.

“The main attraction is the ability to see the local high school kids on TV,” Power said. “You can watch it on Channel 22 and you’re able to not only see it again, but hear other people say things about it.

“I think we all kind of like the opportunity to go back and take a look at our child or grandchild.”

Powers and Hoffer agreed the last six years have been fun, but not without some hard times and teasing.

“We’ve been at odds at times,” Hoffer said. “We’ve wanted to throw each other off the scaffold, but all in all we mesh pretty well.”

Added Powers: “Our wives joke about it being our little club. When we all get together to work on equipment, it’s like we’re going to our club meeting.”

According to Powers, satisfaction is measured in the eyes and ears of their viewers.

“When you have a high school kid come up to you and say something about the broadcast, and you know they watch it, you really feel good,” Powers said. “That’s what makes it fun.”

This fall, football games will be televised on NetCom Channel 22 on Galaxy Cablevision at 6:30 p.m.

Volleyball cablecasts will be announced next week.

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