Page 38 - Salem Magazine Spring 2015
P. 38

                                Our Community
WDBJ’s Mike Stevens interviews Salem football coach Willis White for a feature on Friday Football Extra in August 1988.
   The popularity of WDBJ’s high school football broadcast led to a selection to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame for Mike Stevens.
Salem is known for many things like Roanoke College, the Salem Red Sox, Olde Salem Days and Mac & Bob’s to highlight just a few. However there’s one thing that stands out across the state, and that is Salem’s High School
football program.
The Spartans have
community more than any other time aside from church on Sundays,” Shaver explained. “Somebody’s kid was playing in the band, somebody’s kid was cheerleading and the players were on the field. It’s a sense of community pride.”
won six state championships since 1983 under head
John Kernan hosted the show for the first few years before Mike Stevens took over the duties in 1987. Stevens previously had covered local sports when he worked at K92 before
By Clark Ruhland
   football coaches Willis White and Steve Magenbauer. One year after White was hired, a local television station took a chance on a new show centered around high school football.
joining WDBJ’s sports team in 1985. “We did the morning show together and Mike’s big thing was sports,” said former K92 radio host Larry Dowdy. “It
          Jim Shaver, former News Director
and Vice President at WDBJ, knew that
high school football in Southwest Virginia was
more than just a game. In 1984, he convinced WDBJ
to take a chance on a 15-minute Friday night highlight telecast known as “Friday Football Extra”.
wasoneofthosethingsthatwasmagic.” That magic translated to Friday Football Extra. Stevens became the driving force behind what would become the premier sports television broadcast in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This year, Stevens was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions
SPRING 2015 |
“Friday night high school football games involve the
to sports in the state.

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