Like countless other radio hosts, Michael Kay idolizes Howard Stern, and now that the King of All Media knows it, he’s here for the free publicity.
Last month, chants of “Baba Booey” by a few fans were audible on the YES Network during a Thursday afternoon game between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals. While Paul O’Neill had no idea what “Baba Booey” meant, play-by-play voice Michael Kay quickly acknowledged the Stern reference.
“Howard Stern fans! Count me amongst them,” Kay said before noting he was in awe of the “brilliant” radio host. “Every time I’ve ever come near Howard Stern in a public setting, I can’t even speak to him. I can’t bring myself to talk to him.”
Although this occurred weeks ago, Stern was informed of the August Yankees broadcast after returning to his SiriusXM radio show on Tuesday from an epically long summer vacation.
“There was a Baba Booey that led to a whole long discussion about the show,” Stern said before he fawned over Kay fawning over him. “This was great; Michael Kay and Paul O’Neill were the announcers…and a bunch of fans started chanting ‘Baba Booey’ so loudly that the announcers were forced to have a discussion about me. I like that kind of publicity. It’s free publicity. There’s nothing better than free publicity…Michael, feel free to come up and say hello.”
However, Kay’s co-host Peter Rosenberg took issue with the accomplished sports broadcaster naming Stern as his idol. According to Rosenberg, it’s okay for Kay to admire Stern, but he should view the King of All Media as a contemporary, not an idol.
Stern’s New York prominence jumpstarted around 1982 when he began a three-year tenure on WNBC. But he didn’t become a national sensation until after joining K-Rock in 1985 and getting his show syndicated in 1986. Kay was in his mid-20s by that point. Is that too old to start idolizing someone instead of admiring them? Feels like a very semantical discussion. But Rosenberg’s sensitivity to a 62-year-old broadcaster worshiping a 69-year-old host didn’t get Kay to waver on his fandom.
“I’m good,” Kay said. “Even if I never get a chance to talk with him, because he said something nice about me, I’m good now.”