Sports were an important part of WJMA's programming. WJMA carried Orange County High School football for 50 years from 1953 to 2003. Madison High School football was also part of the schedule for many of Madison's playoff games. The Paul Sizemore Show ran for many years on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7. In the fall of 1974 when Madison County High School under Coach Eddie Dean was having a great deal of success, WJMA added the Eddie Dean Show on Wednesday evenings. Chet Burgess was the first host. Chet recalls some caution on adding a new show...would there be enough advertising revenue to support it? The program sold out in 24 hours. When programs for Louisa (Thursday) and Greene (Friday) became part of the schedule, the program names were changed to SportsTalk: Tuesday, SportsTalk: Wednesday, etc. For many years the DeVivi Restaurant sponsored the High School Scoreboard on Saturday mornings during football season.
In addition to high school sports, WJMA carried the Washington Redskins, Baltimore Orioles, University of Virginia (football and basketball) and Virginia Tech (football) schedules. During the brief existence of the United States Football League, WJMA carried the Washington Federals. For a couple of seasons, WJMA also carried the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association. By the late 1990s all sports had been dropped except for Orange County High School football. High school football was dropped after the 2003 season. One weekday morning sportscast remains on the schedule.
Tom Graves held the position of WJMA Sports Director for a number of years in the late 70s and early 80s. During this time, WJMA would at times cover four football games on a Friday evening. The Orange High game was the feature, with frequent live cut ins from the Madison, Louisa and Greene games.
In 1982 WJMA won the Associated Press award for the Best Small Market Sports Operation for 1981.Here's the crew celebrating.
HS FOOTBALL-- (play-by-play/color)
1953--1956 Alfred "Tubby" Walthal
1956--1959 Red Shipley/Bob Wagner
1960--1965 Bill Hager/Bill Little/Don Little/Claude White (Ken Gunter 1961)
1966--1977 Ted Carroll/Bill Little
1978--1981 Bill Little/Clint Estes
1982--1983 Clint Estes/Tom Graves, George Fletcher on the sidelines...Tom Graves (Madison games)/Clint Estes
1984--1985 Clint Estes/Phil Goodwin
1986--1987 Clint Estes/Ken Pratt
1988--1996 Clint Estes/Eric St James/Will Gregg on the sidelines
1997--2003 Clint Estes/Mike Howes/Red Shipley
late 1960s--early 1970s: Bill Hager/Bill Little/Don Little/John Cregg / Andy Lax stats and half time
middle 1970s: David Taylor/Phil Goodwin
1985-1988 Clint Estes/Ken Pratt/Sue Jarrett
1960s: Bill Hager
1970s: David Taylor
Here's a Sports Station Identification from the mid 1970s. David Taylor is the announcer.
UVA football promo voiced by play-by-play announcer John Gordon. WJMA tag by Bill Little.
Here's the conclusion of the 1976 sports year in review. What could be better than an UVA ACC basketball championship, Paul Sizemore on a winning season, Madison County winning the State Group A football championship and Frank Sinatra? This runs 2:53.
On January 29, 1981 Tom Graves traveled to University Hall in Charlottesville to join the press corp covering the #1 UVa Cavaliers. Country boy goes to the city.
February 28, 1981 WJMA Secretary/Bookkeeper and #1 sports fan Pat Watson reported on the Valley District basketball tournament.
Tom Graves has a wrap up of the year in sports from 1982. This sample is trimmed for presentation here. It runs 1:53.
Pat Watson was WJMA's bookkeeper, traffic manager, receptionist and number one sports fan. After hearing Pat's constant opinions on sports, we gave asked her to do her own show, Pat's Picks, which aired three times on Friday during football season. Pat and the four area high school coaches picked the same games each week. Pat often had the best picking record at the end of the season. In all her years of picking games, Pat never picked against Madison and rarely picked against the Dallas Cowboys. Ross Hunter is the host.
In 1998 Clint Estes and musician Mike Hays to recorded a customized version of the "Are You Ready for Some Football?" music used by ABC for Monday Night Football. Clint wrote the lyrics, Mike did the performing off the Hornet Football theme. This runs 2:21. It was used only for the 1998 season.