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Sports Radio News

The Michael Kay Show Beats WFAN in the Winter Book

Jason Barrett

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The race for afternoon ratings supremacy in New York City tightened in 2017 between Mike Francesa and The Michael Kay Show. But despite a few close calls, Francesa stayed in front until signing off for the final time this past December.

Fast forward to 2018, and the picture has certainly changed. The Fan now finds itself in unfamiliar territory, looking up at its competitor in the afternoon drive ratings.

For the first time ever since moving into afternoons 13 years ago, The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 FM ESPN NY defeated The Fan head to head in afternoons. Michael Kay, Don LaGreca and Peter Rosenberg delivered a 4.4, which was two tenths higher than The Fan’s “CMB” which features Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott. The news was first reported by Neil Best of Newsday.

The feat is a major accomplishment for Kay and his partners. The show has improved on the air and gained strong momentum since adding Rosenberg to the mix, and although critics will point out that the show didn’t defeat Francesa and narrowly slipped past CMB, a win is a win anyway you slice it.

Victory aside, both stations were down compared to the fall book. Kay’s show finished tied for 8th, six tenths of a point behind its fall performance. The Fan was 10th and a stunning 2.2 points lower than its fall showing.

The one saving grace for The Fan’s afternoon trio was that they won the head to head battle for their full show. “CMB” was 9th with a 4.3 between the hours of 2p-6:30p. 98.7 FM ESPN NY was 11th with a 3.9 during that four and a half hour period.

ESPN New York Senior VP and General Manager Tim McCarthy told Newsday, “I’m really happy for Michael, Don and Peter. They’ve been doing this for a long time, and the good news is the ratings over the last year have continued to grow in the right direction.”

Mark Chernoff, WFAN’s Vice President of Programming told Best he was pleased with how the ratings were trending in March and is very optimistic about more growth in the spring.

A few items worth pointing out regarding the New York race.

  • Michael Kay’s show doesn’t receive the local boost from morning drive that The Fan does.
  • 98.7 FM ESPN NY operates on one signal. The Fan broadcasts on both FM and a powerful AM signal.
  • The Michael Kay Show receives additional exposure due to a TV simulcast on the YES Network.
  • WFAN is the flagship station for the New York Yankees. With the Bronx Bombers back in action, their presence on the radio station should provide an added cume boost for The Fan in the spring/summer/fall books. That should help lift the station’s numbers, but won’t necessarily tell us whether New York sports radio fans have flocked to the station’s new afternoon show. ESPN NY meanwhile doesn’t have the benefit of carrying local baseball play by play.
  • “CMB” are only 4 months into their program. Shows usually need time to hit their stride and develop a loyal following.

The Fan remained ahead in mornings with Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti placing 7th with a 5.1 compared to ESPN New York’s airing of the national show “Wingo and Golic” which was 14th with a 3.0. “Boomer and Gio” though were down significantly from the fall when the station came in 1st with a 7.7.

Not to be forgotten, The Fan’s midday show led by Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts produced a 6th place finish. The show delivered a 4.8, down from the fall when they turned in a 5.5. During the 10a-2p hours they were comfortably ahead of 98.7 ESPN NY which was far back in 16th with a 2.4.

The #1 rated station with Men 25-54 in New York for the fall book according to Nielsen Audio was 106.7 Lite FM which reeled in an impressive 8.2 share.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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