It's been a long time coming.
The Fire will finally have a presence on English language radio via a weekly live radio program on ESPN1000. The show will air Saturday mornings at 7:00 am and will be hosted by former Fire TV play by play man Fred Huebner and will feature current TV color analyst Kevin Egan as a regular contributor. The program will feature guests, player/coach interviews, and listener call ins and will run for one hour.
Fans have long desired a live outlet providing Fire content and discussion and although it's not the English language radio match play-by-play call that some are looking for it does provide a vehicle for soccer conversation on a big market level. With the World Cup taking place this summer it's likely that the other sports talkers in town will blissfully continue to ignore that anything could possibly be encroaching upon the interest in countless hours of last place baseball conversation and will continue to essentially ignore the world's most popular sport and sporting event. That won't be the case at ESPN1000. The new program will be cross promoted with World Cup content that will be carried this summer on the station. With ESPN holding the television rights, their local radio affiliates will also produce some content. The show will be heavily centered around the Fire and MLS but supporters of soccer in Chicago will also have a local outlet for open discourse about the World Cup during MLS' summer break.
The program will air live and will be available for download in podcast form on ESPN1000 and at Chicago-Fire.com shortly after it initially airs. The current agreement calls for the program to air every Saturday during the regular season and possibly into the playoffs. If it's received well there is a potential for adding programming in the offseason. The club is also exploring the potential for English language radio broadcasts for games. "We are having a dialogue with ESPN as well. We could potentially get (time) on a digital channel and we'll explore that but we first want to start with the show and build a presence," said Fire COO Atul Khosla regarding game broadcasts.
Listener call-ins will make up a portion of the program that should give fans another voice outside of social media and internet message boards. "We're looking forward to the conversation because it will allow us to have a further dialogue with the fans," said Kholsa.
In 2014 soccer fans in Chicago will finally have a voice and the opportunity for live interaction via a major outlet capable of reaching across the entire market.
Fire trade for Cochrane
The Fire have acquired left back Greg Cochrane from the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for a conditional 2016 Superdraft selection. Cochrane was the 38th player drafted overall in 2013 and appeared in twelve league matches, starting nine. As far as depth pick ups go this is a pretty solid one and probably means that trialist Patrick Walsh won't be joining the squad.
Cochrane also fits into an off-budget salary slot which helps the Fire. He was listed at $35,125.00 in guaranteed compensation by MLSPU last season.