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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

16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

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Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets

The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.

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Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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