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Kay & Francesa In Ratings Dispute

“Nielsen reporting a higher number for Kay led to an ESPN celebration, sending out a press release stating The Michael Kay Show beat WFAN in the winter ratings book.”

Brandon Contes

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Drama circles the New York sports radio airwaves again as WFAN’s Mike Francesa and ESPN NY’s The Michael Kay Show are both claiming to have won the winter ratings battle.  

The outcome and reactions were anticipated for weeks and while both shows have the ability to claim victory, an inarguable fact is that the ratings gap between them is next to “nil.”

Nielsen reported a 5.9 winter book rating for Kay and a 5.5 for Francesa in the male 25-54 demo, but what used to be straight forward now includes variables as ESPN adds their streaming audience to the number, while Entercom does not.  When including the digital audience for both WFAN and ESPN, Francesa out-rates Kay 6.2 – 5.9.  

Nielsen reporting a higher number for Kay led to an ESPN celebration, sending out a press release stating The Michael Kay Show beat WFAN in the winter ratings book.  Shortly after, Francesa tweeted, “Everybody in the industry knows the “official” number. To count their stream and eliminate our stream would be ridiculous. The sports competition got beat..like it always has.”

“I have nothing but sadness and pity for you that you would actually claim a victory that wasn’t real,” Francesa said during his Monday show.  Kay responded with “pity” for Francesa, adding “move aside because we kicked your ass.”

What once was an easy quarterly victory for Francesa has now become a down to the wire battle, sending the WFAN afternoon host scrambling to make decisions about his future.  In recent weeks, the New York radio icon admitted his daily WFAN show and the Mike’s On app might not be compatible, also acknowledging he could bring on a second voice.  

While The Kay Show celebrated with cake and champagne, the New York sports radio drama continued as Francesa was prompted to detail a behind-the-scenes outburst which was first discussed by WFAN’s morning show, Boomer and Gio.  

Last Wednesday, after Gregg Giannotti finished an impression of the afternoon host, Esiason said “Al, did you hear about the screaming and yelling going on around here…I heard somebody wanted you fired.”  Esiason eluded to Francesa being upset with a post from their morning show Twitter account regarding Craig Carton.

“The morning show tweeted on their website they didn’t feel Carton had stabbed them in the back, which I said how absurd is that,” Francesa commented on Monday, referring to the below tweet.

Andrew Marchand of The New York Post added the incident in his ratings report, leading Francesa to claim inaccuracies, while also confirming the story.  According to Francesa, Entercom approached him about allowing Carton on his show for a tell-all, which the afternoon host declined. 

Francesa said management told him he was their first choice for the Carton interview, a claim he later found out was a lie.  Carton instead did what Francesa considered to be a backstabbing move to FAN and joined Michael Kay’s afternoon program, a show the former morning host regularly mocked.

Francesa confirmed that he yelled at Entercom regional president Susan Larkin and VP Mark Chernoff in a crowded FAN newsroom over the Carton situation.

“I don’t raise my voice around here very often,” WFAN’s afternoon host said. “I did at the bosses here over the fact, first of all, that I felt they were silly to go to court and support Craig and then have Craig go to a competitor when he had just been given support by them. And that’s what I said to them, I said you got played.”

With no shortage of sports topics, the hottest discussion on WFAN and ESPN NY was about each other and odds are this won’t be the last time they sling arrows while debating who out-rates who.  However you view the numbers, a ratings battle that for well over a decade wasn’t close, is now separated by tenths of a point, regardless of who’s in the lead.  

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

DraftKings, VSIN to Deliver 70 Hours of Content From Super Bowl Radio Row

“The on-site opportunity will allow DraftKings and VSiN talent to deliver real-time insights and enhanced content featuring celebrities and athletes as the media, entertainment and sports worlds collide in Phoenix for the big game.” 

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DraftKings will make its debut on Radio Row at Super Bowl LVII next weekend, and will feature more than 70 hours of original content centered around the event. DraftKings talent will be on hand for both audio and video podcasts, while several shows from VSiN will produce their radio shows live from Radio Row.

“We’re excited to bring together this team of talented individuals to cover what has historically been the most bet game of the year at our company,” said Stacie McCollum, Vice President of Content at DraftKings. “The on-site opportunity will allow DraftKings and VSiN talent to deliver real-time insights and enhanced content featuring celebrities and athletes as the media, entertainment and sports worlds collide in Phoenix for the big game.” 

Podcasts from DraftKings featured at Radio Row include The Ross Tucker Podcast, The Sweat with Jessie Coffield and Emerson Lotzia, GoJo with Mike Golic Jr., and Golic and Smetty featuring the legendary Mike Golic and Jess Smetana of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.

God Bless Football, the podcast partnership between DraftKings and Meadowlark Media featuring members Stugotz and Billy Gil of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz will record three episodes from Radio Row.

Meanwhile, VSiN radio hosts and analysts will be stationed at Radio Row for the week. VSiN’s Follow The Money hosts Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, The Lombardi Line host and former NFL General Manager Michael Lombardi,VSiN’s Final Countdown hosts Stormy Buonantony and Matt Brown, and VSiN Primetime host Shaun King will all be live in Arizona producing content for the sports betting network.

“VSiN has distinguished itself as a leading voice in the sports betting space, in part, by staying at the center of the sports betting action,” said Brian Musburger, founder and CEO of VSiN.

“Super Bowl LVII is the first to be played in a legal sports betting state and we’re thrilled to drop some of the industry’s leading sports betting experts right into the action to help new and experienced bettors alike prepare for one of the biggest days on the sports betting calendar.”

The entire DraftKings and VSiN schedule for the week is included below. All times listed are Mountain Time, and the schedule is subject to change.  

Monday, February 6ShowHost(s)
7:00-9:00 a.m.The Ross Tucker PodcastRoss Tucker 
9:00-10:00 a.m.The SweatEmerson Lotzia and Jessie Coffield
10 a.m.-noonThe Lombardi LineMike Pritchard
1-2 p.m.GoJoMike Golic Jr. and Brandon Newman
2-4 p.m.VSiN Final CountdownStormy Buonantony
Tuesday, February 7ShowHost(s)
7:00-9:00 a.m.The Ross Tucker PodcastRoss Tucker
9:00-10:00 a.m.The SweatEmerson Lotzia and Jessie Coffield
10 a.m.-noon The Lombardi LineMike Pritchard
12 p.m.-1p.m.God Bless FootballStugotz and Billy Gil
1-2 p.m.GoJoMike Golic Jr. and Brandon Newman
2-4 p.m.VSiN Final CountdownStormy Buonantony
4-5 p.m.Golic & SmettyMike Golic and Jessica Smetana 
7-8 p.m.GoJoMike Golic Jr. and Brandon Newman
Wednesday, February 8ShowHost(s)
5-8 a.m.Follow the MoneyMitch Moss and Pauly Howard
7:00-9:00 a.m.The Ross Tucker PodcastRoss Tucker
9:00-10:00 a.m.The SweatEmerson Lotzia and Jessie Coffield
10 a.m.-noon p.m.The Lombardi LineMichael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher
1-2 p.m.GoJoMike Golic Jr. and Brandon Newman
2-4 p.m.VSiN Final CountdownStormy Buonantony
4-7 p.m.VSiN PrimeTimeShaun King
Thursday, February 9ShowHost(s)
5-8 a.m.Follow the MoneyMitch Moss and Pauly Howard
8-9 a.m.The GM Shuffle PodcastMichael Lombardi
9-10 a.m.The SweatEmerson Lotzia and Jessie Coffield
10 a.m.-noonThe Lombardi LineMichael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher
Noon-1 p.m.GoJoMike Golic Jr. and Brandon Newman
1-2 p.m.The SweatEmerson Lotzia and Jessie Coffield
2-4 p.m.VSiN Final CountdownMatt Brown
4-7 p.m.VSiN PrimeTimeShaun King
7-8 p.m.GoJoMike Golic Jr. and Brandon Newman
Friday, February 10ShowHost(s)
5-8 a.m.Follow the MoneyMitch Moss and Pauly Howard
9-10 a.m.The SweatEmerson Lotzia and Jessie Coffield
10 a.m.-noonThe Lombardi LineMichael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher
Noon-1 p.m.God Bless FootballStugotz and Billy Gil
2-4 p.m.VSiN Final CountdownMatt Brown
4-7 p.m.VSiN PrimeTimeShaun King

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Sports Radio News

Ramie Makhlouf Late For Show On Sactown Sports 1140 While Stuck in Elevator

“I have the flashlight and the entertainment of Twitter, and you, and other friends I’ve texted to fill them in on my situation to get material out of.”

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Tuesday, January 31st is probably a day Sactown Sports afternoon host Ramie Makhlouf will never forget.

The station’s afternoon show — Cattles & Ramie — began without him. Nick Cattles explained to listeners why Makhlouf was absent.

“I am here to tell you that my co-host, my friend Ramie Makhlouf is stuck in an elevator,” Cattles said. “This is not a joke. Ramie is stuck in his apartment building’s elevator. I have a lovely drive into work from Roseville — suburbia — and I was driving in, during this 35-minute trek I felt my pocket vibrating. I felt my phone moving. I thought ‘Someone is sending me a bunch of texts. Something is happening right now. I hope all is good’.”

Cattles then read verbatim the texts he received from his co-host as Makhlouf was stuck in the elevator.

“He usually does the crossover with Deuce and Mo, ’cause I get here too late…At 1:36 PM, Ramie texts in ‘Fellas, I’m currently stuck in the elevator of my building…no joke. Not even sure if you’re getting this. I’ll keep you posted’. I just imagine Ramie stuck in that elevator thinking ‘I hope they’re getting these texts, I hope they’re getting these texts’. Five minutes later, no one has responded to Ramie’s text yet. Ramie texts in ‘And the lights went out’.

“Three minutes later, at 1:44 PM, he texts in ‘Can someone please text me if you all are getting these texts?’ So I text back one minute later ‘I’m getting this’. Ramie then sends back a picture. A very dramatic, moviesque picture…a dark elevator, no lights on, looks like a blue hue in the top left, coming from some energy source, and then you can see the panel of the elevator — just to freak him out even more — with a red light on underneath.”

Cattles then had Makhlouf call into the show from the elevator, with the Sactown Sports host thankful he had his phone with him.

“Thank god for phones, man,” Makhlouf said. “Otherwise, I’d just be sitting here in the dark. I don’t get scared of the dark, I just lose my mind when it’s complete darkness and nothingness. I have the flashlight and the entertainment of Twitter, and you, and other friends I’ve texted to fill them in on my situation to get material out of. I’m fine, just chilling in here waiting to get me out of the elevator.”

After joking that he was stuck in the elevator literally feet away from his apartment, Ramie Makhlouf took listeners through the play-by-play of how he got in the predicament, before saying a technician was 10-15 minutes away. He later joked that his girlfriend offered to come talk to him through the elevator door, but was reserving that offer until he “really started to freak out”.

While on the phone with his co-host, Makhlouf was freed from his encapsulation and was on his way to the studio to resume the normal show.

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Sports Radio News

Marc Bertrand Signs Contract Extension at 98.5 The Sports Hub

“I take great pride in having been a part of the station since its inception.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Mass Amherst via Facebook

Zolak & Bertrand co-host Marc Bertrand will remain on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub for the next several years.

According to All Access, Bertrand and parent company Beasley Media Group reached an agreement on a contract extension.

Bertrand said being a Sports Hub lifer is something he’s very fond of.

“I take great pride in having been a part of the station since its inception,” Bertrand said. “I’m fortunate to have great teammates on Zolak & Bertrand and as a group, we are incredibly thankful for our loyal listeners. It is their support and engagement that makes this job fun every single day.”

Bertrand and partner Scott Zolak have been on the air together since 2015.

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