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WVIA’s Original Documentary Roar: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers Seals National PBS Distribution, Local Premiere Set for Super Bowl Sunday

Written by: on Saturday, February 10th, 2024. Follow David Mika on Twitter.


PITTSTON, Pa. – February 08, 2024- WVIA’s original and award-winning documentary, ROAR: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers, will be distributed nationwide through PBS+ beginning this month. The film will be available on PBS stations across the country and will air locally on WVIA TV on Super Bowl Sunday.

This compelling documentary provides an intimate look into the triumphs and tribulations of the Southern Columbia High School football team, known as the Tigers, as they navigate their way through a remarkable 2022 season. From the heart-stopping moments on the field to the behind-the-scenes dedication of coaches and players, ROAR promises to be a riveting portrayal of passion, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence.

WVIA’s commitment to quality programming shines through in this documentary, showcasing the station’s dedication to bringing meaningful stories to audiences in their viewing area, and now, across the country.

“National distribution by PBS is definitely a validation of our commitment to local storytelling at WVIA. As a filmmaker, this is more satisfying than an award because it means so many more people will see the film and it can live on,” said filmmaker Alexander Monelli, who spent nine months behind-the-scenes capturing the historic season. “My belief has always been that your documentary subject doesn’t have to be some big national story to attract a large audience.. but your themes must be universal. These kids from a small rural town embody the heart of a champion, resilience, and community. PBS recognized that and I’m super excited for the Southern Columbia football players, coaches, and community.”

ROAR premiered in May of 2023, and has since won two NETA Public Media Awards and received coverage throughout the region by various news and media outlets. WVIA conducted a months-long promotional campaign leading up to the film’s premiere, including a community pep rally and extensive social media and multimedia advertising campaigns, creating significant momentum and anticipation for its release.

Upon release, the film was praised for its engaging storytelling, intimate access, and exploration of community spirit. It has since enjoyed strong viewership numbers on WVIA and PBS platforms, showcasing its appeal to local communities and football fans alike.

“We’re really excited to share the inspiring journey of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers with a nationwide audience on Super Bowl Sunday,” said WVIA Chief Content Office and Executive Producer, Ben Payavis II. “ROAR is a testament to the dedication and spirit of these athletes, and we believe it will resonate with viewers of all ages.”

The full documentary can be viewed here.

Contact your local station directly to check availability in your area.

About Southern Columbia Area High School Football Tigers

The Southern Columbia Football Tigers are the most decorated high school football team in the history of Pennsylvania. Prior to the 2022 season, they have won 12 PIAA state titles (1994, 2002-2006, 2015, 2017-2021). Head coach Jim Roth has a record of 475-64-2, which is the most wins by any head football coach at any level in state history.

About WVIA

WVIA is the PBS and NPR affiliate serving over 22 counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania. For over 50 years WVIA has been committed to serving the people by offering informational, educational, and entertaining content that enriches and expands viewpoints and serves as a catalyst for positive change. WVIA television channels include WVIA TV, WVIA PBS Kids 24/7, and WVIA Create. WVIA’s radio channels include WVIA Radio, WVIA HD2, and the Chiaroscuro Channel. WVIA’s programs can also be found streaming live and on-demand on and the WVIA app.

WVIA Mission

WVIA educates, inspires, entertains, and fosters citizenship, diverse cultures, and perspectives to nurture community.

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