Connect with us

Sports Radio News

Michael Kay Beat Mike Francesa In The Month of June

Jason Barrett



Down goes Francesa. Down goes Francesa. Down goes Francesa.

Ok, maybe a win in the New York ratings book doesn’t capture the world’s attention the way Muhammad Ali did when he knocked out Smokin’ Joe Frazier. However, when a sports radio icon dominates the ratings the way Mike Francesa has on WFAN, and points out frequently how strong the show’s performance has been, and then suffers a head to head defeat against a local sports radio competitor for the first time ever, it’s a big deal.

For the June book (May 25-June 21), the Michael Kay Show on 98.7FM ESPN New York beat Francesa between the hours of 3p-6:30p ET. Kay finished with a 5.2 to 5.1 advantage among Men 25-54. Francesa was not on vacation during this time and WFAN did have the benefit of airing New York Yankees baseball.

Another impressive note worth pointing out, over the past 12 months, Kay’s show has gained ground in the ratings. The program has added seven tenths of a ratings point and three ratings positions. Francesa’s program during that time has declined by eight tenths while slipping from second to fourth. The separation in daily cume between the two stations was also very minimal for June (6,600). It’s usually 20-30 thousand higher in favor of WFAN.

The June ratings win marks the first head to head victory for the Kay Show since it began airing on 98.7FM ESPN New York in 2002. The show has consistently rated in the top 10 but hadn’t been able to unseat WFAN’s afternoon ratings king.

Making the accomplishment even more interesting is the timing. Earlier this week Kay talked to Bob Klapisch of The Record. When asked about his program and how it measured up to Francesa’s he said, ““Our show is quantifiably better than Mike’s. It’s funny, not one guy bloviating. It’s three guys (along with Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg) and laughing, having a good time. We don’t dread it and that comes across to our listeners. We’ve made unbelievable inroads. People are noticing.”

Kay continued, “I used to listen to Mike and Mad Dog all the time. It was innovative and fun; you had to listen. But I defy anyone who listens to our show to say it’s not better. There’s no way that if Mike started today, he would be No. 1 in the market.”

Although Kay has reason to celebrate June, the news wasn’t all bad for Francesa, In fact, his show did finish ahead for the spring book (April-May-June). During that three month stretch, WFAN generated a 5.7 between the hours of 3p-6:30p which was good enough for 4th place. Kay registered a 4.9, placing 6th.

The latest ratings news have to be concerning for WFAN officials because it’s a position they’re unfamiliar being in. They may point to Mike’s show remaining strong from 1p-6:30p, which is when it airs in its entirety, but never before have they finished behind Kay during the heart of afternoon drive.

With Francesa exiting in the next few months it’s natural to wonder how long the audience will stay faithful when they sense the end of the show is near. The timing is also problematic because Francesa is off for the majority of the summer for vacation. That provides Kay with an opportunity to steal a few meters and build on his recent momentum.

Given the latest developments, the pressure CBS Radio New York executives are under will only intensify. They’re tasked with finding a dynamic afternoon show that has the potential to replace Francesa, and excite New York sports radio listeners in 2018 and beyond. Adding to the challenge is undergoing a massive lineup change while the competition rides the highest wave of their broadcasting existence.

For now, Michael Kay, Don LaGreca and Peter Rosenberg have earned their moment in the sun. June was a memorable book for the talented trio. Now it’s their job to stay there a while and prove it wasn’t a one month fluke. In the words of Jim Ross, business is about to pick up!

Sports Radio News

Barstool’s Big Cat Recalls Awkward Moment of Aaron Rodgers Interview

“If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to reroute a conversation when a guest is like, ‘Oooh, I don’t like you guys.'”

Jordan Bondurant



Big Cat, Aaron Rodgers

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently appeared on the Barstool Sports podcast, Pardon My Take, and the interview seemed to go well.

Podcast co-host, Dan “Big Cat” Katz, who is a die-hard Bears fan and well-documented Aaron Rodgers hater, relished in the fact that Rodgers agreed to take trash talk from him.

But there was one moment where things almost derailed.

Big Cat, in his weekly appearance on ESPN Chicago with Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman, talked about asking Rodgers how many grandmothers he had killed (A reference to Rodgers not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and his beliefs on vaccine mandates).

“That was a good lesson that PFT and I sometimes have to learn,” Big Cat said, before saying he saved the interview by finding a way out of the subject. “If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to reroute a conversation when a guest is like, ‘Oooh, I don’t like you guys.'”

Katz said it was a moment where they had to pause and understand what they were actually asking and insinuating with Rodgers.

“That was one of those ones we really don’t live in the real world, so when we go out into the real world and we say something that we’ve been joking about within the confines of our studio on ears that haven’t heard those jokes before, it’s kind of like, ‘Wait what did you guys just say? Are you really joking about grandmothers that died from COVID?'” he said. “And then when you get it repeated back to you, you’re kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah that is kind of messed up. Right, good point.”

Katz mentioned Rodgers went with the whole bit for the interview the entire time. So while there was a brief second where things could’ve gone south, everyone just let it go.

“Score one for Aaron, but he was smiling,” Big Cat said. “It was all in good fun.”

Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

Fescoe in the Morning: ESPN Has a History of Ignoring Non-Partner Leagues

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.



Fescoe in the Morning

ESPN is out of the running for the Big Ten football and basketball media rights. Those will be awarded to a combination of other networks and likely a streaming service. ESPN appears to be focusing on NCAA Championships next.

Josh Klingler, co-host of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, took time on their show on Tuesday to break down what that might mean for the Big Ten in terms of coverage.

“You’re (Big Ten) going to network television, which is better; more eyeballs and what have you,” noted Klingler. “But also, let’s not forget ESPN has a history of ignoring you when you’re not on their air. That’s the risk they are going to run.”

Klingler would add, “They are going to take the money. They are going to get network viewers, which is good. I guess the highlight and the hype and all those things that we are accustomed to doing that ESPN provides. We’ve already seen they ignore you if you’re not on their network.”

Bob Fescoe chimed in a reminder about another prominent league that chose not to partner with ESPN.

“Ask the National Hockey League what happened when they took the money from NBC and ran,” said Fescoe.

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

“Right, but I think they are willing to do that for a billion dollars per year,” Fescoe responded.

Fescoe then said that the Big Ten might make up for the perceived shortcomings of not being on ESPN by being on network television.

“If you’re going to be on network TV in all three windows, Josh, quite honestly all your marquee games are going to be free,” said Fescoe.

“That’s exposure,” said Klingler.

Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

NESN’s Dave O’Brien Says National Networks “Blew It” By Not Hiring Dennis Eckersley

“I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”



Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.

His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.

“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”

O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.

“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

Continue Reading

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.