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ESPN Radio N.Y.'s Michael Kay Closes Ratings Gap On WFAN's Francesa In June

ESPN Radio N.Y.'s Michael Kay Closes Ratings Gap On WFAN's Francesa In June

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Kay's program averaged 4.9% for sixth place going head-to-head with Francesa
ESPN Radio 98.7 N.Y.'s Michael Kay "finished closer than he ever had before" in the afternoon ratings race between his show and WFAN-AM's Mike Francesa for Q2 (March 30-June 21), according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. When "The Michael Kay Show" went head-to-head with Francesa's program from 3:00-6:30pm ET, Francesa averaged 5.7% of the audience on WFAN among men 25-54, "ranking fourth overall in the market." Kay averaged 4.9% for sixth place and also "closed the quarter strongly, edging Francesa for June alone, 5.2 to 5.1" (NEWSDAY, 7/13). SI.com's Jimmy Traina wrote Kay closing the gap on Francesa is "basically bigger than the Patriots coming back from a 28-3 deficit against the Falcons." Traina: "ESPN NEVER beats WFAN." Francesa will "spin this with ease, saying that he beat ESPN for the entire spring ratings book." However, even losing "one month to ESPN, when you only have half a year left on the airwaves, has to be an embarrassment for Francesa" (SI.com, 7/13). 

A BRIDGE TOO FAR? In New Jersey, Ed Lucas writes under the header, "Christie, A Slam Dunk For WFAN." Christie subbed for Francesa for two days earlier this week, and preliminary ratings show that listenership "increased, no doubt due to the governor's presence." Christie also did an "excellent job" during his audition to be a potential Francesa replacement. Lucas: "The prerequisite is a deep passion for and knowledge of sports. That certainly came through." WFAN has a history of hiring "outspoken personalities who evoke passionate responses in audience members," as they "can deliver big ratings" (JERSEY JOURNAL, 7/14). 

TWO FOR THE MONEY: ESPN's "30 for 30" on Francesa and former co-host Chris Russo premiered Thursday night, and in Boston, Chad Finn writes while the duo "may not have invented sports radio," few have "influenced it more." Their "massive success at WFAN" from '89-'08 was the "prototype for the modern show in style and approach, and was critical in the spread of sports stations nationwide" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/14). Russo said, "We were the first duet. Most of your great sports talk shows, stations and players were single guys." He added they had a "big impact" from the outset of their show. Russo: "We convinced program directors that an afternoon drive show could work with the right contrasts with the right personalities. You can put two men together, and that’s what we did" (“OTL,” ESPN, 7/13). CSN Mid-Atlantic's Rob Carlin tweeted, "I grew up on Mike & The Mad Dog. When I drove home from college I couldn't wait to get far enough north to hear it. LOVED the 30 For 30." CBS Sports Radio Producer Shaun Morash: "I expect a lot of NY haters to hate this #30For30. They don't get how Mike and the Mad Dog changed sports fans lives in this country." Awful Announcing: "If you’re not in the NYC radio market, did you find it a compelling topic?" NBC Sports' Patrick Daugherty: "We need better things to be nostalgic about" (TWITTER.com, 7/13).

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