One of the biggest hurdles that Major League Soccer has always faced here in New York City is its absence from the sports conversation. While the New York Red Bulls are televised on MSG -- and Steve Cangialosi does a great job, by the way -- they've never had a presence on radio, except for Spanish language audiences.
From the beginning, New York City FC was driven to change that. Their part-ownership by the New York Yankees was a huge factor in getting their games televised by YES. That part-ownership is also a huge reason why WFAN, the nation's premier sports radio station, is going to be carrying New York City games this season.
Today, WFAN announced who would be calling the games: Tom Kolker and Glenn Crooks for the English language broadcasts, and Roberto Abramowitz for the Spanish language call. Before we get into who these folks are, though, let's dive into why WFAN is such a big deal.
WFAN was one of the earliest stations to adopt the sports radio format. At the time, there were no other radio stations dedicated to covering sports, all the time. When WFAN launched on July 1, 1987, it became the world's first 24-hour sports radio station. WFAN was also the first station in the country to roll out sports updates every 20 minutes. These updates, called 20-20 Sports Flashes, are now considered an industry standard. When WFAN first started updates were done every 15 minutes.
Now, this doesn't mean that New York City is suddenly going to have a two-hour midday show discussing the ins and outs of the MLS season. But it is an important beginning, and as a former radio guy myself, I'm certainly going to be tuning in to listen.
So: what about the announcers?
Tom Kolker, who will be doing the English language play by play for New York City, is from Washington, DC. He's been doing play by play for Georgetown University women's soccer, and he's also the broadcast manager for the Brooklyn Nets. In that role, Kolker is the liaison between the team and their broadcast partner, YES Network.
Glenn Crooks, who will be the color commentator with Kolker, is a veteran NCAA D-1 college coach. He spent 14 years at Rutgers coaching the women's team, and coached at LIU-Brooklyn and St. Peter's University, where he started their programs. Crooks has been a soccer commentator for the Big Ten Network, FIOS1 Sports, and Sky Blue FC.
Finally, Roberto Abramowitz is the dean of the crew. Abramowitz, who hails from Mexico City, has spent nearly 35 years covering soccer in New York City either on TV, radio, the web or print. He has a ton of experience in sports broadcasting -- for over two decades, Abramowitz covered a multitude of sports as a play-by-play announcer or as a color commentator including NFL (Sunday and Monday Night Football) NBA and WNBA basketball, NHL hockey, and international soccer, among others. Finally, he was the founding Editor-in-Chief of ESPN Deportes in 2001.
UPDATE: A reader helpfully points out that Kolker actually isn't the PBP voice for Georgetown basketball; he does it for women's soccer. He is a play-by-play voice for the Big East Digital Network and Barclays Center “Brooklyn Hoops” college basketball broadcast, though. I conflated the two.
In any event, I decided to correct the post in the interests of transparency and accuracy.