Bord breaks radio silence concerning calling of Bearcat football games

GRAFTON—Fall brings Friday night lights and football games, but this fall, something was missing.

After numerous citizens tuned in to hear the Bearcat football games being broadcast, they were sadly disappointed to learn that the games were no longer being aired. Announcer John Bord decided to break the radio silence and offer an explanation.

Bord said it all began in 1985, when Tom Friend purchased WQIT FM from a group out of Pittsburgh.

“Tom lived in Terra Alta and was a big sports fan,” recalled Bord. “He was one of the best I’ve ever listened to doing play-by-plays of basketball games. He was as good as they come.”

According to Bord during Friend’s time at WTBZ, they announced not only high school football games, but also basketball, baseball and even little league baseball games.

“Tom approached me in 1985, and asked about helping him call Bearcat football games. Little did I know, that help would lead to becoming the ‘Voice of the Bearcats,’” shared Bord.

Bord said because Friend was busy cheering on his sons at East Preston High on Friday nights, he needed to find a radio companion.

“I asked Bob Bucy, who was working with WBOY and covering Taylor County as a reporter if he would like to join me,” explained Bord. “He jumped at the chance.”

Bord and Bucy called the games until the last game o the 1990 season, when Bucy learned he had MS.

“The fans and student athletes made a profound affect on Bob, and he’s still a Bearcat at heart,” Bord told.

He was joined by Friend in 1991, and then in 2000 Shawn Nines took to the airwaves with Bord, bringing Bearcat fans the play-by-play action each Friday night.

“Shawn and I have been calling the games from then until this year,” shared Bord. “We have had a great time doing it and have really enjoyed presenting the games to a grateful audience.”

According to Bord, Friend sold the station back in 2002, and for a while the games were being called on an AM station, but that was quickly failing because of FCC regulations.

“In 2007, we talked the Froggy chain of stations into doing the games, and we were with them up until this year, when they went under new management, who decided to go in a different direction,” Bord explained.

He said that presenting the games was never a money making proposition for them.

“We never charged, not for doing the games, or for the mileage or food. If the trip was longer than an hour, Tom and then Shawn had the places to eat already mapped out,” he disclosed.

Nines and Bord were approached to call the play-by-plays of the Fairmont State games.

“Both our wives drew the line there,” Bord joked.

Bord recalled numerous memories from his time on air.

“I remember in 1986, a bolt of lightning came into our phone line during the Tucker County game. Smoke started coming out of our headsets, and Bucy turned white as a ghost,” he shared.

In the late 80’s, Bord said while down in Charmco, presenting the Greenbrier West game, he and Bucy were stuck in a press box near the wood line. They were told to watch for bears, and Bord said he didn’t think Bucy ever took his eyes off the woods the whole game.

In the early 2000’s Bord recalled a game in Oakland, Maryland, where he and Nines were seated in the bleachers with Southern High fans.

One of Bord’s fondest memories while presenting the games, was the night of the Wayne playoff game in 2008, when over 20,000 people listened to them by computer, not only in the United States, but in nine other countries.

“I would have to say the biggest memory that all of us share, who sent our voices out over the airways all those year, are the memories of all the Bearcat athletes we have had the privilege of calling their names. That to me is priceless,” imparted Bord. “From the beginning, we have brought you Bearcat football from all over West Virginia. We did it because we enjoyed it and because we felt we were giving something back to people who supported our student athletes.”

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