Published on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 17:16
The local MLS team, the Chicago Fire announced today that it is partnering with ESPN Deportes 97.5. The new low-powered radio station will now carry Spanish-language broadcasts of all 34 regular season Chicago Fire games, as well as a local soccer program each week.
The entire regular season for the Chicago Fire will be heard within the city of Chicago, beginning with the first game of the season, Saturday, March 17, when the Fire travel to Canada to take on the Montreal Impact. This marks a return to radio for the Fire, who did not have a Chicago radio home last season.
The games will be called by Oscar Guzman, who is returning for what will be his ninth year broadcasting play-by-play for the Chicago Fire. In 2003, Guzman called some Fire games on WNTD-AM. In 2004, the Chicago Fire moved their broadcasts to WRTO-AM. Guzman was the announcer for games called there from 2004-2010. There were no Fire games locally broadcast on the radio last season, but Oscar Guzman was still busy with the team, acting as the sideline reporter for the Chicago Fire television broadcasts on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WPWR-TV.
No stranger to television work, Oscar Guzman is also the sports anchor for WSNS-TV/Telemundo Chicago. Before coming to Chicago many years ago, Guzman covered futbol/soccer in Mexico for Fox Sports, and worked for Mexico's national radio and television networks. Additionally, he is a sports writer covering futbol/soccer for a leading Mexican sports website.
Not only will all of the Chicago Fire games be heard on ESPN Deportes 97.5, but the station will be launching a new weekly show entitled "Juega Con Fire" (which translates to "Playing With Fire"). The new show, also hosted by Oscar Guzman, will cover the latest news regarding the Chicago Fire, as well all MLS teams.
Emigdio Gamboa, Chicago Fire Vice President of Marketing and Communications, said today: "This new endeavor with ESPN Deportes is an exciting way for us to reach more Chicago Fire fans. ESPN Deportes is a leader in sports broadcasting and we look forward to offering our matches and other engaging Spanish-language content to soccer supporters throughout Chicagoland. As part of building a premier media offering, we want Fire content available everywhere Chicago Fire fans are."
Ricardo Otero, Program Director for ESPN Deportes 97.5 and Mega 95.5, added: "We are excited to provide Chicago Fire broadcast coverage to our listeners. This will bring the best of sports around the world en Espanol to our Hispanic community and we are happy to proudly embrace and support our local professional sports teams."
ESPN Deportes Chicago, which recently launched on February 1st
, is heard on the radio on 97.5 FM via radio translator W248BB and on HD Radio on WNUA-HD2. The programming also streams online at ESPNDeportesChicago.com
, as well as the iHeartRadio app.
Clear Channel Radio Chicago, which is already maxed out on the number of radio stations it can have in Chicago according to federal regulations, gained the use of the translator W248BB to use as yet another commercial radio station, that isn't counted as a radio station legally, by putting together an agreement to use the transmission with EMF Broadcasting, the translator's owner. Clear Channel then made a deal with ESPN to allow the use of W248BB for ESPN Deportes broadcasts.
The 250 watt signal of translator W248BB, located from atop downtown Chicago's third tallest skyscraper, the Aon Center, reaches all of the city of Chicago and the communities that immediately border it. It does travel somewhat into the suburbs, but is not very strong or easy to hear the farther away from Chicago one travels (depending on weather conditions).
Also on February 1st, ESPN Deportes debuted on WKRS-AM 1220
in the northern suburbs. It should be pointed out that as of now, the Chicago Fire broadcasts will NOT
be heard on AM 1220 in Lake County -- only on 97.5 FM in Chicago.
The Chicago White Sox organization continue to be in talks with ESPN Deportes about having a number of their regular season games broadcast in Spanish on 97.5 FM. So far, no agreement or schedule has been finalized. As with the Chicago Fire broadcasts, the Chicago White Sox Spanish-language broadcasts will only be heard on 97.5 FM, not 1220 AM.