When preliminary ratings data came out in August and showed that ESPN New York’s Michael Kay was in front of WFAN’s Mike Francesa, Francesa responded in typically on-brand fashion.
I have been in afternoon drive since 1989 and have never finished behind another sports program. Never. The other station celebrating a success now would be the same as spiking the football after finally scoring a TD in a game that is 77-0!
— Mike Francesa (@MikeFrancesa) October 30, 2019
Of course, that bill was always going to come fully due, and the stakes were higher than normal for both parties, as Francesa is bowing out (he says, anyway, though we’ve seen this before) of his current program. That meant it was Kay’s final opportunity to post a big win, and Francesa’s chance to go out on a high note. Let’s check and see how that went:
In Mike Francesa’s final afternoon ratings book, Michael Kay dominated Francesa, 7.4-5.5 in the Nielsen ratings.
Kay’s Show was No. 1 in the entire market.
If you add Francesa’s stream, he is at 6.1.
More ratings and a full column a little later.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) December 23, 2019
That’s about as decisive as Kay and company could have hoped for. Kay’s numbers had him #1 in the entire market, too, as Andrew Marchand noted in his New York Post writeup:
Kay blew out Francesa.
Kay stood over Francesa in the Nielsen Audio Ratings that both stations use to sell radio advertising. Kay finished at a 7.4 share among men ages 25-54, while Francesa was at 5.5.
Give Francesa his .6 streaming boost and he is still being towered over by Kay, 7.4-6.1.
Kay was No. 1 overall in the entire market, while Francesa was second or third, depending how you look at streaming.
For Kay and his team, beating Francesa is, in a way, old news, even though this one was indisputable because it was an utter destruction. What is new is the perch that Kay sits on with his sidekicks, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg.
They are the No. 1 afternoon show in New York, sports or otherwise. They are the new champs, atop the city for the first time for any ESPN New York show since its inception 16 years ago.
In Francesa’s final afternoon book, the Kay Show knocked Francesa out. It barraged him in each of the three months, leaving Francesa on the floor searching for his mouthpiece as he headed for the exit.
Marchand’s piece has a fairly thorough rundown of how Kay’s program ended up being such a force. Francesa, meanwhile, will be moving to a 6-6:30 PM slot next year. Perhaps more than any other industry, sports radio values getting the last word. That’s certainly what this ratings book gave Kay.