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Michael Kay: Craig Carton ‘Was So Nasty and So Personal’ in Attacks

“The discourse was so nasty and he was so personal and stuff like that.”

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Courtesy: Audacy, Wikimedia Commons

Craig Carton is leaving WFAN at the end of next week to focus on hosting his FOX Sports 1 morning television program on a full-time basis. During his announcement last week on WFAN, Carton spoke about radio ratings and referenced his competitor, The Michael Kay Show on rival ESPN New York 98.7. He said the show never provided palpable competition to he and Evan Roberts’ afternoon drive program, and that he takes great pride in having defeated the competiton for nine of ten ratings books.

“This was never a seesaw battle,” Carton said. “It burns me to my core that anybody can refer to the ratings battle between us and ESPN as ‘seesaw’.”

The winter ratings book awarded Carton and Roberts with a 7.7 share, good for third in the market among the male 25-54 demographic. Conversely, Michael Kay, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg attained a 2.9 share, good for 15th overall.

“Now that Craig is leaving to do TV full time, the narrative is, ‘Well, Kay’s probably thrilled,’” Kay said on a podcast appearance with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman of the New York Post. “No – I’d rather continue to get my butt kicked and continue to win. Let’s say we beat Tiki and Roberts – okay, it’s still going to be, ‘Well, you didn’t beat Craig at the end.’ I’m an ultra-competitive person, so I would have liked to have gotten that done.”

Kay does not believe the radio ratings encompass a complete picture of listenership. He cannot comprehend how 500 portable people meters can effectively adjudicate an 11-million person footprint. Nonetheless, he understands that is how the score is kept and reflects back on the times when his show beat various WFAN afternoon programming – most notably when he defeated Mike Francesa by 1.9 shares and finished No. 1 in the market.

The part about Carton’s tenure at WFAN that perturbed Kay was in Carton’s verbose parlance towards Kay and his show. Before Carton was convicted in 2017, he was given a platform on The Michael Kay Show to tell his story to listeners and explain the course of events. Once he rejoined WFAN and took the air, Carton portrayed Kay as an ostensible antagonist. In reality, while Kay was surely cognizant about what was being said, he did not believe in engaging in a radio war.

“The discourse was so nasty and he was so personal and stuff like that,” Kay said of Carton. “I never did anything to him; that’s not the way I do my show. I don’t believe in doing it that way – maybe I’ve outgrown the world.”

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Spike Eskin Introduces Rules for Callers on WIP Afternoon Show

“A polite society, an organized society, a civilization has rules, and we will have rules for calling the WIP Afternoon Show.”

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Spike Eskin

Earlier in the week, Audacy announced that it hired Ryan Hurley to serve as the brand manager of WFAN and Infinity Sports Network, officially naming a successor to Spike Eskin and allowing him to begin his role on the afternoon drive program with SportsRadio 94WIP. Eskin officially made his on-air debut on Monday where the show discussed a variety of sports teams in the area, including the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia 76ers. On Tuesday, the show continued its sports discussion but also introduced new facets to its structure, including a list of rules by which callers will need to abide in order to be featured on the WIP Afternoon Show.

Named the “Bill of Spike,” the document of six rules was revealed by Eskin during the broadcast, each of which was followed by a subsequent explanation. Before he began to read from the list, which he stated is non-negotiable, he provided his rationale as to why he was implementing these regulations within the program.

“Some things have gotten out of hand,” Eskin said. “There is a new sheriff in town. We need some rules. It is with great respect and honor that I introduce the Bill of Spike, the rules for calling the WIP Afternoon Show. A polite society, an organized society, a civilization has rules, and we will have rules for calling the WIP Afternoon Show.”

The first rule on the list mandates that callers must reach their point immediately. Even if the primary topic does not pertain to sports, it is essential that they begin discussing it upon being placed on the air. Should a caller have an issue with another listener of the show, the program will eventually get to it, but it will not be the first thing.

“Rule No. 2 – please do not ask how we are doing,” Eskin continued. “We’re great. We’re having such a good time. This is such a good job; it is silly; we all like each other. You don’t need to ask us.”

Eskin also added that if a team lost the game on the day before, it should be obvious that the hosts are not doing well. They will likely express those sentiments on the air within their discussion about the games and teams as well. When they are speaking with a listener though, Eskin made sure to inform them that they should not be calling into the show on speakerphone.

“If you’re on a speakerphone, just take the L,” Eskin said. “Do not ask us for a second to take us off speakerphone. We’ve already hung up; I’m already on to the next caller.”

The fourth rule on the list reads, “Don’t tell me the rules, I’ll tell you the rules,” something Eskin highlighted because there have been several callers who have questioned specific rules. Instead, he wanted to make it clear that he would be informing the callers of the rules rather than it being the other way around. He then proceeded to outline the fifth rule on the list, which specifically mentions how listeners should address Eskin, co-host Ike Reese and producer Jack Fritz.

“You can greet the hosts in any order possible, but please, limit the times you passive-aggressively do not say hello to one of us,” Eskin said. “I can see what you’re doing if you call up and you say hi to Ike and Jack and don’t mention me; you say hi to Jack [and] don’t mention me and Ike, so and so. We’re not doing that – we’re all friends here. If you’re going to say hi, say hi to all three of us. You don’t have to say hi to anybody by the way – you can just go.”

Fritz asked a follow-up question to Eskin regarding this rule pertaining to what would happen if a caller specifically asked for his takes about the Phillies. In response, Eskin said that he would drop the call, leading to Reese to provide his input on this directive.

“I have seen that scenario happen before where somebody has called up and said, ‘I just want to get Jack’s opinion on the Phillies,’” Reese said. “Now me, it doesn’t offend me at all – I’m like, ‘Go right ahead.’”

“You know what?,” Eskin replied. “I’m going to change my opinion. If you greet all three hosts and you want to ask Jack something specific about the Phillies, we can let that slide.”

The final rule within the “Bill of Spike” is that callers are not allowed to say that any of the hosts only received the job because of their father. Spike Eskin is the son of Howard Eskin, who was a longtime host on SportsRadio 94WIP and continues to appear across its programming while sideline reporting for its broadcast of Eagles football. Even so, Spike Eskin said he was standing up for everyone on the show with this rule on the bill, concluding the list and commencing a new era in afternoons on the station.

“The Bill of Spike – the rules are ingrained,” Eskin said. “They are in stone, they are posted on the wall, they are tattooed on my abdomen.”

While Reese believes that Eskin did an adequate job crafting the bill, he believes that the callers are going to initially fight against the mandate. After some time though, he thinks that they will conform to the rules about calling into the show.

“They will fall in line,” Eskin said, “or they will fall out of order; out of the rotation.”

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Rob ‘WorldWideWob’ Perez Joins SiriusXM NBA Radio

“After so many years as a listener, it’s an honor to join SiriusXM NBA Radio as a host.”

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Photo of Rob Perez
SiriusXM/Getty Images

SiriusXM announced that popular social media personality Rob ‘WorldWideWob’ Perez is joining the talent roster on the NBA Radio channel. Perez and his X account,  @WorldWideWob, have more than a million followers.

Perez will host SiriusXM NBA Radio’s live postgame show multiple nights each week through the Playoffs, reacting to the results and standout performances, interviewing players and taking calls from fans across the country.

“After so many years as a listener, it’s an honor to join SiriusXM NBA Radio as a host,” said Perez in a release. “There aren’t many late-night postgame shows like this one that are able to connect with fans and capture the emotion of the night’s wins and losses, so I’m quite excited for this opportunity. Being a voice of the NBA fan has been a strength and a passion for me, and I’m looking forward to bringing to that to the air.”

SiriusXM will once again have live play-by-play broadcasts of each game throughout the NBA playoffs.

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Sports Radio News

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research Team Up for Sports Audio Report

The report notes sports fans spend six hours and 26 minutes with audio content each day—that’s over two hours more than the average American spends listening to audio.

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Logos for SiriusXM, Edison Research and GroupM

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research recently conducted the first-ever Sports Audio Report to understand the role that audio content, across sports podcasts, satellite, and radio shows, plays in fans’ engagement with sports and leagues. Through an online study of over 3,500 Americans ages 13 and older who self-identify as sports fans, some solid insights were identified.

One major note from the study is that a massive 89% of sports fans say they frequently or occasionally watch sports content, while 64% say they frequently or occasionally listen to sports content.

“The passion and community of sports fans is undeniable, and we’re excited to share brand-new research that not only confirms this but shows the power of audio content for sports fans as well,” said Melissa Paris, VP Sales Research at SiriusXM Media. “Our new report with GroupM and Edison Research shows that audio offers sports fans unique perspectives on sports that aren’t covered in other media. And advertisers should take note: Sports audio listeners (especially podcast listeners) are spending significantly more than sports video viewers.”

“There is a deep connection between listeners and the audio content they consume, whether it’s music, sports, talk shows, books or podcasts,” said Jen Soch, Executive Director, Channel Solutions, GroupM US. “Many times, audio audiences find content related to their interests and passions, and we know sports fans’ zeal is unmatched. Audio is a critical component of holistic media investments, and it needs to be a top consideration for brands looking to extend their reach and overall presence in sports.”

While baseball has been labeled “America’s favorite pastime,” the study found that the NFL dominates as the most popular sport or league—90% of sports fans ages 13+ are NFL fans, with 59% saying they follow it closely. College football is not far behind, with 74% of those surveyed identifying as fans and 37% following closely.

The report notes sports fans spend six hours and 26 minutes with audio content each day—that’s over two hours more than the average American spends listening to audio. And over 90 minutes of sports fans’ daily audio time is spent listening to sports content specifically. While sports radio leads for Gen X and boomer fans, sports podcasts lead the way for Gen Z and millennials.

Other audio highlights from the first Sports Audio Report include:

  • 66% of sports listeners say they listen to hear unique perspectives on sports that aren’t covered in other media, and 60% listen to get exclusive content.
  • 86% of sports listeners say they listen to stay connected to their team or sport, 58% to be part of a community of fans, and 56% to feel more connected to friends/family/colleagues.
  • 52% of sports listeners say they listen to be a more informed sports bettor, and 44% to be a more informed fantasy sports player.

From a financial standpoint, the study showed that compared to sports video viewers, sports audio listeners are bigger spenders. They spend an average of $262 on sports merch/memorabilia in a year (even higher for sports podcast listeners at $321), compared to just $185 for sports video viewers.

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