Niles Vikings Network debuts Aug. 24

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

NILES — If you cannot make it out to a Niles football game this fall, no problem.

The Vikings home and away games can be heard online as Niles has joined the, announced Joe Jason, president of Joe Jason Media LLC. Tuesday.

The Niles Vikings Network joins several other area high schools — Dowagiac, Edwardsburg, Berrien Springs, Lakeshore, St. Joseph and South Haven. There are also networks for Mattawan, Portage Northern, DeWitt and Greater Muskegon.

Joe Jason Media LLC is the largest high school broadcast streaming group of its kind in the state of Michigan.

“I was approached by Matt Brawley [Niles athletic director] and we put this together just before the end of the school year,” Jason said.

The Niles Viking Network’s broadcast team will consist of Michael Markoch and former Dowagiac standout Brent Lesniak.

Markoch joined Joe Jason Media in 2021. He has been broadcasting high school sports in west Michigan since 2018 when he began his career as an intern at WSJM Sports in Benton Harbor.

“A Michigan State alum, Michael has called many MSU athletic events such as basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and volleyball on Impact 89FM and Big Ten Plus,” Jason said. “He was even tabbed as one of two broadcasters for the MSU men’s basketball team during the 2022-23 season for the Impact. In 2022, he worked for Michigan Sports Radio as the lead football broadcaster for Grand Rapids Union.”

Markoch called games for the DeWitt Panthers and Lakeshore Lancers networks before joining the Niles Viking broadcast duo.

Lesniak is no stranger to Niles football fans as he played for the Chieftains in 1996 and 1997. Nicknamed “BMAN, Bullet and White Lightning,” Lesniak was a key part of Dowagiac’ domination of southwest Michigan in the mid-1990s. Lesniak rushed for 2,239 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a junior and 2,300 yards and 37 touchdowns his senior season.

“He then went on to become an All-American at Grand Valley State University where he played under Head Football coach Brian Kelly, who is the current head coach at LSU,” Jason said. “He later won a National Championship with the Lakers in 2002 and was inducted into the Grand Valley State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 where he played from 1999-2003.

Lesniak was also an All-Pro in the Arena League, where he played from 2006 to 2009.

He joins the Niles Vikings Network after being a varsity assistant coach at Bridgman, Niles, South Bend Riley and Eau Claire.

Lesniak began his broadcast career at Joe Jason Media as a member of the St. Joseph Bears Network, where he has spent the last two years.

Besides calling football games, the Niles Viking Network will also call several boys and girls basketball games this winter.

The Niles Vikings Network makes its debut Aug. 24 when Niles plays its very first contest on its new turf service against St. Joseph.