The result was never in doubt. Just the final score. And that is now in.
WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts boatraced ESPN Radio New York’s Michael Kay, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg in afternoon drive during the spring ratings book. WFAN finished with a 6.3 share to ESPN’s 3.3, according to The Post’s Andrew Marchand. The scores come in the all-important Nielsen demographic of men ages 25-to-54.
Carton and Roberts won the first two months of the three-month book by similar margins, so their victory was never in doubt. It’s the second straight book they’ve won. And now things get interesting.
The summer book is not considered a full-on competition. There’s a reason Mike Francesa didn’t work summers. But then comes the critical fall book. Kay and company won that one in 2021 — the biggest ratings win of Kay’s career. And while Carton and Roberts will go into this fall as the clear favorites, there is reason to wonder if Kay has a rally in him.
We’re going to have two postseason baseball teams and two intriguing NFL teams this fall. It’s the best sports time of the year. And you could argue that is to Kay’s advantage. Carton and Roberts don’t do a traditional sports talk show. They get heat at times for not talking enough sports, and Kay has tried to claim Carton’s more risqué style gives him an edge over more buttoned-up ESPN.
Right now, it’s working for WFAN. But if listeners want more Xs and Os talk in the fall — and more hard-hitting interviews with the actual newsmakers on the field — that could work to Kay’s advantage.
Kay’s show has done a better job with the big local interview for a while now. Even when Mike Francesa was still at WFAN and still bringing his fastball. And La Greca has the ability to deliver a viral moment here and there, as evidenced by his recent rant. The pieces are there to make this interesting again in the fall. But if Carton and Roberts run away with another book? It’s goodnight da lights on ESPN being a real factor in town for the time being.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]