Columbus Crew SC has a new radio home and a new voice behind the mic. WBNS-FM 97.1 The Fan sports radio will broadcast Columbus Crew games and former Black & Gold color commentator Chris Doran will provide the play by play. The games will be available over the air on 97.1 and streaming online.
“We are excited to announce this partnership with 97.1 The Fan and are proud that Crew SC will play an important role in their robust and well-respected sports programming lineup,” Crew President Tim Bezbatchenko said in the release. “I want to welcome back longtime sports broadcaster Chris Doran back to Columbus as we are happy that he will help deliver an engaging radio broadcast to all listeners.”
The deal marks the first time since 2014 that the team has separate television and radio coverage. Four the last four seasons, the radio broadcast was simulcast with what was being said on television. Current TV play by play man Neil Sika was the radio voice of the Crew at that time.
“I’m thrilled to have this new relationship between The Fan and Columbus Crew SC,” Mike Ricordati, Director of Content & Image at 97.1 The Fan, said in the release. “This isn’t just a soccer team, it’s a community effort. I know the Haslam and Edwards families are just as committed to Central Ohio as we are. It’s a perfect fit.”
Doran was a color analyst and host for the team from 2013 through 2016. He’s covered Big Ten soccer as analyst for the Big Ten Network since 2007. He has also appeared on FOX Sports Champions League coverage as color analyst.
The team also announced that Juan Valladares will continue for his 11th season as the Spanish voice of the Crew via the team’s Spanish audio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com.
Bezbatchenko underscored the value of Valladares’ broadcast in the release, “It is a point of pride that our Spanish audio stream receives listeners from around the world and we want to thank those that tune-in to catch all of our Crew SC broadcasts.”
The deal is the second conducted by new ownership since taking over the team. In February, the Crew announced a renewed partnership with Fox Sports Ohio to broadcast 33 of the team’s game on Fox Sports Ohio and SportsTime Ohio after being on Spectrum Sports and over the air broadcaster WWHO CW Columbus 53.1.
Part of the Dispatch Broadcast Group, “The Fan” is the leading sports radio station in the Columbus radio market and is broadcast on 97.1 FM and on 1460 AM as well as streamed online at www.971thefan.com. Together with the Fox Sports Ohio deal, the Crew are now featured on the two most prominent sports broadcasting outlets in the city and another sign of the impact that Saving the Crew made.