Michael Kay’s last stand is beginning to look just like that.
WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts continue to dominate afternoon drive, according to The Post’s Andrew Marchand. The duo posted a 6.8 to 3.5 victory over Kay and ESPN Radio New York in the first month of the fall ratings book in the all-important males ages 25-54 demographic. So Carton and Roberts have expanded their spring book margin of victory over Kay, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg so far.
Kay’s surprise Fall 2021 victory feels like it happened decades ago now. And this was supposed to be when the calendar tilted toward Kay and company. Two postseason baseball teams and unexpectedly competitive football teams should have been good news for ESPN’s traditional sports talk as it battles WFAN’s guy talk approach. But that has not been the case.
Barring a stunning series of events over the next two months, the war appears to be over. WFAN has regained a complete stranglehold on afternoon drive for the first time since Mike Francesa’s initial retirement in 2017. The question then becomes whether ESPN will keep Kay and crew together with no hope for victory. Kay has been hosting his show for 20 years with only a handful of wins over WFAN, so it is possible ESPN is fine with the status quo. But his contract is reportedly up next year. And ESPN could quietly be in position to swing for the fences on a replacement.
Some other thoughts:
Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti are a wagon. They have almost a 10 share from 6-10 a.m., according to Marchand. That is complete and total domination. It will be interesting to see if two recent non-sports morning talk development — 1010 WINS moving to an FM signal and any changes at WABC following the death of Bernard McGuirk — have any impact on Boomer and Gio’s numbers moving forward. Nothing to change the fact they are steamrolling, but it could impact the scores some in either direction.
Midday show comparisons. Carton and Roberts had a 4.6 share for the entire Fall 2021 book. The former midday team of Maggie Gray and Marc Malusis had a 4.4. Fast forward a year later and Carton and Roberts are at 6.8 and the new midday team of Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney is at 5.9. Barber and Tierney have clearly gained more traction. But it is interesting Gray and Malusis had a rating so much closer to Carton and Roberts.
Maybe ESPN should figure out a way to get Rick DiPietro and Dave Rothenberg on the air in a bigger spot. The morning show duo is ESPN’s most successful program. They are also on the air from 5-8 a.m. Perhaps it’s time to give them a more prominent daypart? Like, say, afternoon drive in Fall 2023? They certainly cannot do worse than Kay at this point.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]