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.
Regarding Craig going on with Michael Kay today https://t.co/VGOAbgIDWp— Morning Show with Boomer & Gio (@WFANmornings) April 8, 2019
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 former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Brent Dougherty Signs New Deal At 104.5 The Zone
“I am so excited to have the opportunity to commit long term, again, to continue to help make 104.5 The Zone the best radio station in the country.”
Things are going very well for 104.5 The Zone. The Cumulus station is coming off of a strong Fall ratings book, and now it has secured the future of its signature show Brent Dougherty has a new deal that will keep the 3HL host on the station for the foreseeable future.
“I am blessed to be able to work with the most talented people in radio, both on and off the air,” Dougherty told BSM. “I am so excited to have the opportunity to commit long term, again, to continue to help make 104.5 The Zone the best radio station in the country.”
Brent Dougherty has been part of The Zone since 2008. He was well-known to Nashville sports fans long before that, having previously served as the Sports Director at 1510 WLAC.
Dougherty announced his new deal last week on Twitter. On Monday, he told Barrett Sports Media that re-signing was a no-brainer, given his teammates.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to work with Dawn Davenport, Ron Slay, and Joe Hunk on a day-to-day basis. We know that there is always room to grow. We’ve worked hard to get where we are and will continue to do that every day. Win every day – always and always.”
While all of the teams currently in Nashville were already there when 3HL launched in 2010, Dougherty knows the landscape is so much different now with a population boom and the changing options for sports media. He says that he is optimistic that both the show and 104.5 The Zone will play a prominent role in shaping sports fans’ conversations in Middle Tennessee for years to come.
“We as a radio station have tried to grow with Nashville hand-in-hand. 104.5 The Zone is the voice of Nashville sports. It was that way when I came to work at this radio station in 2008. We are blessed to have such loyal and passionate listeners and are so thankful for their participation and their desire to take ownership over what we do.”
David Schultz Out At 105.5 WNSP
“I had a blast covering the Jaguars, Tide & Tigers, Saints, and high school sports and then sharing my opinions.”
WNSP is looking for a new afternoon show. A source tells Barrett Sports Media that David Schultz has been let go.
Schultz served as the Program Director as well as the host of The Game Plan in afternoon drive. Michael Brauner has been his co-host since last April.
David Schultz came to Mobile in August of 2019, replacing Creg Stephenson and Randy Kennedy, who is now heard on crosstown rival Sports Talk 99.5. Before coming to Alabama, Schultz hosted mornings on 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, Louisiana. He is also a former contributor to WQAM in Miami.
“To the listeners of WNSP, it has been my honor and pleasure driving you home from work since August of 2019,” he wrote on Twitter. “I had a blast covering the Jaguars, Tide & Tigers, Saints, and high school sports and then sharing my opinions. I appreciated your patience as it took this ‘yankee’ a bit to get used to his surroundings. Thank you very much for bringing me into your homes, cars, and phones.”
The station’s permanent afternoon plans are far from solidified. BSM has learned that Mark Heim — who currently hosts The Opening Kickoff on the station — will cover the shift in the interim.
Audacy, New York Mets Announce Addition of Keith Raad, Pat McCarthy
“The Mets are excited to have Keith and Pat join WCBS 880 as part of the Mets broadcast.”
Raad joins the crew after spending last season announcing games for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. He has also been the voice of Wagner University football and women’s basketball since 2017.
McCarthy — the son of Philadelphia Phillies television voice Tom McCarthy — has served as the voice of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the AAA-affiliate of the Phillies. He has filled in on Phillies broadcasts during the past two seasons, in addition to working as a football, and men’s/women’s basketball announcer for Princeton and St. Joseph’s Universities.
“The Mets are excited to have Keith and Pat join WCBS 880 as part of the Mets broadcast,” said Andy Goldberg, Executive Vice President, and Chief Marketing Officer, New York Mets. “Having Keith called up from Brooklyn, and being a local New Yorker to keep it in the family is what the Mets are all about.”
Raad will serve as the play-by-play and color commentator on the club’s broadcasts, while McCarthy will host the pregame and postgame shows, and step into the play-by-play role held by Howie Rose during select broadcasts.
“As we round the bases towards Spring Training, we’re proud to officially welcome Keith Raad and Pat McCarthy to our popular coverage of Mets baseball alongside Mets Hall of Famer Howie Rose,” said Chris Oliviero, Market President, Audacy New York. “Once again, the Mets offseason has created anticipation and optimism for the 2023 Amazins’ and we’re looking forward to being the audio home for every moment on-air and digitally.”