CINCINNATI – Cincinnati FC today announced local broadcast agreements with television and radio partners. For the sixth year in a row, WSTR Star 64, part of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, will be the local official broadcast partner of Cincinnati FC for the 2021 season. In addition, Cincinnati FC has partnered with iHeartRadio for the first time to be the Cincinnati FC’s official radio broadcast home for the 2021 season.
Similar to the club’s first two MLS seasons, the broadcast will take place in a two-and-a-half-hour window and include a 30-minute post-game show during each broadcast.
Further terms of the two agreements were not published.
“We’re excited to have two great broadcast partners ahead of our inaugural season at West End Stadium,” said Jeff Berding, president and general manager of Cincinnati FC. “We are very happy to welcome the fans back to our games for the 2021 season. However, we are excited to have two strong broadcast partners for our fans who will watch and listen to games outside of our new home. We couldn’t be happier to have our games on WSTR and iHeartRadio this season. “
“We are very proud to deliver the Cincinnati FC program for the inaugural season in the brand new and very impressive West End Stadium on ESPN 1530 in the Tri-State area,” said DJ Hodge, Market President of iHeartMedia Cincinnati. “We’re very excited to be adding FC Cincinnati and MLS Soccer back to our line-up and continuing to bring great coverage of orange and blue to fans of FC Cincinnati via the iHeartRadio app.”
In addition, for the second year in a row, all locally broadcast games can be streamed free of charge to fans in the club’s designated regional coverage area, which includes the greater Cincinnati area and the Dayton, eastern Indiana, Lexington and Louisville regions.
The free match streams are available within the geofenced region and at fccincinnati.com/stream. Each stream begins at the announced kick-off and includes the entire game broadcast, including the 30-minute post-game show.
Fans living outside of the coverage area specified by the club will continue to stream locally broadcast games through a monthly subscription to ESPN +.
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WSTR continues its relationship with Cincinnati FC as the club will have its first season at the West End Stadium. WSTR has played the games of the FCC for the first five years of its existence – the first of three games in the United Soccer League and the last two seasons in the MLS.
The FC Cincinnati trio of programs made up of Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Kevin McCloskey (analyst) and Alex Stec (sideline) is also on the air for the second time in a row. David Ashbrock returns as the show’s lead producer. The club’s three-person broadcast team will be central to any WSTR broadcast, including live on-site coverage of every away game.
Broadcast team bios
Tom Scholar, Play-by-Play & Executive Producer: For the sixth year in a row, Tom Gelehrter is heading the Cincinnati FC broadcast team again and brings 22 years of experience to the table. Scholar was the “voice of Cincinnati FC” throughout the USL era and has extensive television and radio experience. He’s been calling games for ESPNU, ESPN3, FOX Sports Ohio, and 700-WLW. Prior to founding 4th Floor Creative, he was Senior Director, New Media and Broadcasting at the University of Cincinnati for nine years. Scholar also called college-level football at both the University of Akron and the University of Cincinnati and hosted the weekly television shows for Bearcats football and basketball for seven years. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2002.
Kevin McCloskey, Match Analyst: Kevin McCloskey joined the Cincinnati FC broadcast team in 2016 and has been the club’s match analyst since then. Kevin McCloskey is from Belfast, Ireland. In 1999 he moved to the United States to play soccer at the University of Rio Grande. During his college career, he was an American midfielder and participated in two national NAIA tournaments before playing professionally with the Cincinnati Kings of the USL for four years. He has experience as an assistant coach in the men’s soccer programs at Northern Kentucky University, Xavier University, University of Rio Grande, and Urbana University. McCloskey is currently the Executive Director of Kings Hammer Soccer Club and holds a USSF A license. Prior to his college career, he played in Northern Ireland’s U16 and U18 national teams. McCloskey received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rio Grande and his master’s degree from Urbana University.
Alex Stec, part-time journalist: Alex Stec joined the organization of FC Cincinnati in 2018 as the club’s social media manager. Stec is now the club’s director of digital content and oversees content planning and execution on FCCincinnati.com and all of the club’s social media channels. In the club’s first MLS season 2019, Stec hosted the Cincinnati FC live show before the away game before the away games. She made her debut in coverage of Cincinnati FC in 2020 and will take on that role for both home and away games throughout the 2021 season. From 2015 to 18 she was a brand journalist with Columbus Crew SC. From 2016 to 18 she worked as a side reporter for selected Columbus Crew SC games on Spectrum SportsNet. As a versatile talent, Stec was also the host in the stadium and PA announcer for various USWNT games. Originally from Medina, Ohio, Stec played soccer at Ohio University from 2010 to 2014.
David Ashbrock, Producer: Award-winning producer David Ashbrock returns in his sixth season to direct broadcast production for FC Cincinnati. Ashbrock is an independent television producer, director, editor, animator and project manager who works regularly for FOX and ESPN. He is the coordinating producer and director for the Cincinnati Bengals Television Network and the senior studio and editing facility consultant and designer for Pro Football Focus. His athletic experience includes producing and directing basketball, tennis, indoor and outdoor soccer, volleyball, college and professional soccer, bowling, golf, hockey and horse racing. Ashbrock was executive producer and director of the University of Cincinnati basketball and soccer from 1983 to 2007. In his 41 years on Cincinnati television, Ashbrock has won 39 Regional Emmy Awards and three Telly Awards for his work.
Cincinnati FC will return to the field for their third MLS season on Saturday, April 17, when the team opens the season on the road against Nashville SC. The FCC will officially open their home table for 2021 on Sunday, May 16, when the team welcomes Inter Miami CF to the opening game at West End Stadium in a nationally televised game at 4pm.