VIDEO: ‘Friday Night Locker Room’ Is Area’s Definitive Prep, Youth Sports Source
By Charles Parker // January 30, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Now in their 20th year broadcasting and covering Brevard County high school sports, the Friday Night Locker Room’s longtime crew is now the Space Coast’s most definitive source of high school and youth sports information.
FRIDAY NIGHT LOCKER ROOM – 2015 INDUCTEE
FNLR In 18th Year Broadcasting Local High School Sports, Leading Youth and Prep Sports Advocate, Information Source
DEDICATED TO LOCAL YOUTH & HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
If it’s about high school athletics in Brevard County, it’s got to be about “Friday Night Locker Room.”
In their 20th year broadcasting local high school sports on the radio, FNLR has always been about promoting youth sports in our county.
The crews’ backgrounds are almost as varied as the sports and athletes they cover.
Keith Lippert – who founded FNLR, but passed away in 2007 – was in electronics. Orville Susong is in the printing business. Rick May is a probation officer and Steve Wilson works for local government.
There have been a number of people sitting in with the broadcasting crew over the years.
Among them are Anthony Lambert; Rich Frazier, who helped on the technical end of things after Lippert’s passing; Mark May; Jerry Durney; and currently in his third year with FNLR, Anthony Nachreiner.
Each one of these individuals brought their own unique perspective and talents to the airwaves.
Wilson said of the broadcasting team, “Our backgrounds are quite different, but what makes our team work, is our love for sports, especially at the high school level.
“When Keith passed away, there was discussion of dissolving FNLR,” said Wilson.
“Keith was the gentleman that started it all. However, with the encouragement and support of Keith’s widow June, and their children, we decided to continue what Keith started.”
The squad has broadcast games from one end of the state to the other – from Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee to Traz Powell Stadium in Miami.
They have covered seven state championship games over the years involving Brevard County Schools – and local teams have won all seven.
“One of the most exciting games we broadcast was the Cocoa at Monsignor Pace state semifinal football game in 2008,” Wilson said.
“With the clock running out, Cody Bell of Cocoa kicked a 52 yard field goal to win the game. It stunned the crowd and sent the Tigers to Orlando the following week, where they defeated Godby 7-6 to win their first of three consecutive state championships, all of which FNLR broadcast.”
But the FNLR crew has learned that covering winning championship games does not come close to other moments.
“With modern technology the way it is now, all of our games are also streamed online,” Wilson noted.
“We will never forget a phone call that we received prior to a football playoff game.
“About 30 minutes before air time, we received a call from Staff Sgt. James Davis in the U.S. Army.
He was stationed in Iraq, and was up at 3:30 a.m., his time, to listen to our broadcast of a Brevard County high school football game.
He said it brought a little piece of home to him in a very difficult situation. That phone call really made an impact on us.”
While the group has interviewed many pro athletes, including Kyle Busch, Evander Holyfield and Doug Williams, it is the contact with high-schoolers that keeps them going.
“In 2012 we traveled to Keystone Heights on the team bus with the Space Coast Vipers softball team for a regional final game,” Wilson said.
“Even though the Vipers lost a thriller 6-5, we will never forget how we were treated by the girls on the team. After a very difficult defeat, each one of them came to us before boarding the bus to go home, and thanked us for being there and broadcasting their game.
“It typifies the students we have dealt with over the years. I can give you example, after example, of outstanding sportsmanship displayed from every single high school in Brevard County.”
And the FNLR crew also works beyond the microphone – supporting charities such as Merritt Island alumni Clint Hurdle’s Prader-Willi Syndrome and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
“One of the things we’ve noticed, is that no matter how good some of these athletes are, they are still kids,” Wilson said.
“At the conclusion of each of our games, we present a FNLR Player of the Game plaque. We’ve had 300 pound linemen that go on to D-1 schools act like a kid at Christmas time when presented the award.”
Auto dealer and avid youth sports supporter Mike Erdman has been a long-time main sponsor of the Friday Night Locker Room.
“Without Mr. Erdman’s financial support over the years, what we do would not be possible,” said Wilson.
THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.
FOR INFORMATION or to make a nomination for the 2016 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com