|Broadcast area||Columbus, Ohio|
|Branding||97.1 The Fan|
|Slogan||Ohio's Sports Destination|
|Frequency||97.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1957|
|Callsign meaning||derived from sister station WBNS (AM)|
|Affiliations||ElDorado Scioto Downs Columbus Blue Jackets Radio Network (flagship)|
NFL on Westwood One
Ohio State IMG Sports Network (FM flagship)
|Owner||Tegna Inc. |
|Sister stations||WBNS, WBNS-TV|
|Website||97.1 The Fan|
WBNS-FM (97.1 FM, 97.1 The Fan) is a 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; WBNS-FM'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 features a combination of local programming and ESPN Radio programming. Along with sister station WBNS (AM), it is the FM flagship of the Ohio State IMG Sports Network, the exclusive flagship for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Columbus affiliate for the NFL on Westwood One.
WBNS-AM experimented with FM as early as 1940 with station W8XVH, which became W45CM and later WELD, but took the station off the air in the early 1950s. The modern day station debuted as WBNS-FM in 1957, and in 1970 began airing a music format. In 1979, an Easy Listening music format was adopted.
In November 1991 the station moved from Easy Listening, to Oldies, and the station became "Oldies B-97.1". 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 adopted the Hot AC-friendly "Mix" name and became "Mix 97.1-80s, 90s, Now."
On January 26, 2009, at 2 PM, the station began a simulcast of AM sister station WBNS ("1460 The Fan"), airing a sports format, as 97.1 The Fan. The final song played on Mix 97.1 was "Leave Out All The Rest" by Linkin Park.
Local programming on WBNS-FM includes "Bishop and Laurinaitis" with Beau Bishop and former OSU and NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis, from 10:00am to 12:00pm, "Carpenter & Rothman" with former OSU and NFL linebacker Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Rothman from Noon to 3:00pm, "Common Man and T-Bone" with Mike "The Common Man" Ricordati and Jonathan "T-Bone" Smith from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, and "The Buckeye Show" with Tim Hall and Brandon Beam from 6:00pm-8:00pm.
On June 11, 2019, Dispatch announced it was selling its broadcasting assets, including the WBNS stations, to Tegna Inc. for $535 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, pending Federal Communications Commission approval. The sale was completed on August 8.