As Aaron Rodgers entered a darkness retreat to deliberate over his future, ESPN New York’s Michael Kay did some soul searching of his own and decided to fend off retirement from his daily radio show for at least a few more years.
Two months ago, the New York Post reported Kay’s radio contract with ESPN New York was set to expire in September and while the company hoped to reach an extension, the 62-year-old was mulling retirement. Upon confirming the report, Kay said whenever he comes to a decision, his radio audience would hear it first. And Thursday afternoon, Kay fulfilled his promise, announcing he won’t be saying ‘see ya’ to his radio show anytime soon.
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“After much deliberation, sleepless nights, talking with my family, back and forth, I don’t want to give this up,” Kay said. “I love working with (co-hosts) Don (La Greca) and Peter (Rosenberg), I love the people I work with here at the station. And I’m going to continue here. So I’ve signed a new contract…I’m going to be here for a good, long while.”
According to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, Kay’s new contract is a multi-year deal worth seven-figures annually. It’s Kay’s first contract with ESPN New York since the station was acquired by Good Karma Brands.
“I was pretty certain that was going to be it,” Kay admitted on Thursday. “I would leave the show after 21 years in September. It had been a great run, a long run and I just said, ‘That’s it.’ I’m probably too old to do it.”
Although he was considering retirement from ESPN New York after 21 years, an unprecedented run in local sports radio, Kay was always going to continue as the Yankees play-by-play voice and his Kay-Rod alternate Sunday Night Baseball broadcast. Juggling multiple jobs at 62 years old, with a wife and two young kids, the possibility of lessening his professional plate was not believed to be a negotiation tactic. Ultimately, Kay decided he has at least a few more years left before needing to step back, opting for the seven-figure salary.
“We have unfinished business here,” Kay said. “We think that this show — and you could argue all you want, you could call up, you could hit me on social media — this is the best sports talk show in the country. If at times the ratings don’t reflect that, so be it.”
After a brief tenure as the top-rated afternoon sports radio show in New York, Kay, La Greca and Rosenberg have since been trounced by WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts according to Nielsen Audio measurements. In the most recent ratings book, Carton and Roberts defeated The Kay Show 7.5-2.9 in the key demo of men ages 25-54.