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Out of the park

Sports broadcaster hits a home run with his retirement choice

Created date

September 25th, 2015
Fox Run resident
Fox Run resident

John Fountain has always loved sports reporting and play-by-play broadcasting. Throughout his life, he has found opportunities—both paid and unpaid—to do what he loves most. 

When John was in the U.S. Navy and stationed in Libya, he volunteered on top of his regular duties as an electric technician to keep his fellow service members up to date on sports back home. He discovered a radio station at a nearby military base, so he started a regular sports show that was broadcast from the facility.

“One of the coolest things I did was a play-by-play of the 1955 World Series,” John says. “It was on a 10-second delay, and I was being fed information from Yankee Stadium.”

When John returned to the States, he worked his way through college with sports broadcasting gigs. After he graduated, he took a job broadcasting University of Michigan basketball and got to travel with the team. He says that job was rewarding, but like so many of the coolest jobs, it wasn’t lucrative enough to support his growing family. So John took a job as an administrator at Eastern Michigan University. 

He never gave up on sports broadcasting. He continued to broadcast Eastern Michigan football and basketball on a National Public Radio station based in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Out of the ordinary

Now retired, John and his wife Marge live at Fox Run, the Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich. There, John has discovered a brand new way to explore the field of sports broadcasting. 

He records two sports-related shows each week that air on the community’s in-house television station. He does one scripted show that takes a look at the week ahead in sports, and his other show is an unscripted talk show that he films with two staff members. Both shows are recorded in Fox Run’s state-of-the-art studio.

“It’s a wonderful facility,” John says of the studio. “It’s one of the benefits of living here—to be able to do something you love.”  

Those kinds of opportunities to explore things he enjoys and challenge himself are precisely why John wanted to move to Fox Run. He says he and Marge were living in a condo in Ann Arbor when they moved to Fox Run five years ago. 

“Once I really retired, I found as the years went by, I was spending more time at home, getting up in the morning, going to the gym to work out, occasionally going out to lunch or dinner, but I had the feeling that my mind wasn’t being challenged,” he says.

Spot on

John and Marge had been on Fox Run’s priority list for many years, so they had the opportunity to visit, attend special events, and learn about everything the community had to offer. Before making the decision to move, they comparison-shopped by visiting other communities. 

“[Fox Run] had a couple of things that stood out to us,” John says. “It is large enough that it has a lot of amenities and a lot of opportunities to be involved in things. But because it’s so large, you can also be anonymous if you want. We can go down to dinner some nights and say we just want a table for two.”

John and Marge chose a two-bedroom, one-bath Fallston-style apartment home at Fox Run. 

Recording sports shows in the on-site TV studio is just one of John’s many activities. Together, he and Marge belong to the political awareness committee and the genealogy club, and they take classes through the community’s Center for Continuous Learning. John is also a member of Fox Run’s Hot Stove League, a group of baseball fanatics who get together every week to discuss the Detroit Tigers and other teams.

The Fountains have four daughters, ten grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, who all live in Michigan. John says the farthest family member lives just 45 minutes from Fox Run, so there is not a week that goes by that he and Marge don’t see their kids or grandkids. Recently, the entire clan took a trip to New York City, where they visited the Brooklyn Bridge and Yankee Stadium.

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