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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

CityColumbus, Ohio
Broadcast areaColumbus metropolitan area
Frequency97.1 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding97.1 The Fan
SloganOhio's Sports Destination
FormatSports radio
AffiliationsESPN Radio
Columbus Blue Jackets Radio Network
NFL on Westwood One
Ohio State Sports Network
OwnerTegna Inc.
(RadiOhio Incorporated)
First air date
Call sign meaning
Wolfe Bank Newspaper and Shoes (original owner of WBNS (AM))
Technical information
Facility ID54701
ERP20,500 watts
HAAT238 meters (781 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
39°58′16.0″N 83°01′40.0″W / 39.971111°N 83.027778°W / 39.971111; -83.027778

WBNS-FM (97.1 MHz, 97.1 The Fan) is a commercial radio station in Columbus, Ohio, United States, airing a sports radio format. The station is owned by Tegna Inc., along with WBNS (1460 AM) and WBNS-TV (channel 10). The WBNS radio stations' studios and offices are located in Columbus's Brewery District neighborhood. The FM station's transmitter tower is co-located with WBNS-TV on Twin Rivers Drive, behind the WBNS Television studios and west of Downtown Columbus.

WBNS-FM carries local sports shows weekday mornings, afternoons and early evenings. ESPN Radio programming is heard nights and weekends. WBNS-AM-FM are the flagship stations of the Ohio State Sports Network,[1] the exclusive flagship for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets,[2] the MLS's Columbus Crew SC, and the Columbus affiliate for the NFL on Westwood One.


Experimental Years and Beautiful Music

WBNS-FM transmission tower (right), next to the WBNS-TV tower.
WBNS-FM transmission tower (right), next to the WBNS-TV tower.
WBNS-FM's HD Radio Channels on a SPARC Radio with PSD.
WBNS-FM's HD Radio Channels on a SPARC Radio with PSD.

WBNS (AM) was established in 1922 and in 1929 was acquired by the Wolfe Family, which also owned the major daily newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch. WBNS experimented with FM broadcasts as early as 1940 with station W8XVH, which became W45CM and later WELD. But few people owned FM receivers in those days, so management took the station off the air in the early 1950s. The modern-day station signed on in 1957 as WBNS-FM, at first largely simulcasting the AM station.

In 1970 it began airing a beautiful music format, playing quarter-hour sweeps of instrumental cover versions of popular songs, Broadway and Hollywood show tunes. In the 1980s, the station began playing more soft adult contemporary vocals, in an effort to appeal to a younger audience.

Oldies and AC

In November 1991 the station moved from Easy Listening, to Oldies, calling itself "Oldies B-97.1". The playlist was made up of Top 40 hits of the 1960s and 70s. Almost ten years later, in July 2001, WBNS-FM moved to Modern AC as "The New 97.1", with a mix of pop alternative music.

Eventually, the station evolved with a Hot AC format as "97.1-More Music, More Variety." In August 2005, the station began using the "Mix" name and became "Mix 97.1-80s, 90s, Now." Meanwhile, co-owned WBNS 1460 AM had good ratings as an all-sports AM station, as more cities were getting FM sports outlets. Management decided to capitalize on its sports franchise.

Sports format

On January 26, 2009, at 2 PM, WBNS-FM began a simulcast of AM sister station WBNS "1460 The Fan." WBNS-FM became "97.1 The Fan." The final song played on Mix 97.1 was "Leave Out All The Rest" by Linkin Park.

On June 11, 2019, The Columbus Dispatch announced it was selling its broadcasting assets, including WBNS-AM-FM-TV, to Tegna Inc., for $535 million in cash. The deal was expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, pending Federal Communications Commission approval.[3] The sale was completed on August 8.[4]

Over time, WBNS-FM became the exclusive home of local Columbus-based sports shows, while WBNS 1460 AM airs the national ESPN Radio Network feed.


  1. ^ OSU Radio Network - Ohio State
  2. ^ Blue Jackets Radio Network - Blue
  3. ^ Miller, Mark K. (June 11, 2019). "Tegna Buying Dispatch's WTHR, WBNS For $535M". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheckMedia. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  4. ^ "TEGNA Completes Acquisition of Dispatch Broadcast Group’s Leading, Top Ranked Stations in Indianapolis, IN and Columbus, OH", Tegna Inc., August 8, 2019; Retrieved August 8, 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 6 May 2021, at 14:05
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