New York Yankees announcer Michael Kay goes after Mike Francesa
Debby Wong | USA TODAY Sports

Michael Kay is staying put.

The Yankees television voice and ESPN Radio New York host said Thursday — in somewhat of a surprise — that he has signed a contract extension and will continue leading the station’s afternoon drive program.

“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. … I’m going to be here for a good, long while.”

Kay’s announcement ends months of speculation about his future amid what has been a rough run for his show. The Post reported in January that Kay would likely to retire this fall when his deal was up, and he did nothing to dispute the report. Kay, La Greca and Rosenberg have also been steamrolled by WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts in the ratings battle for over a year now. And Kay generated a slew of negative headlines after threatening to get longtime producer Ray Santiago fired during an on-air rant earlier this year.

“I was pretty certain that was going to be it,” Kay admitted. “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.”

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But after some soul-searching — and a push by station owner Good Karma Brands to retain him — Kay decided to change gears. La Greca and Rosenberg expressed excitement and gratitude he did, with Rosenberg acknowledging his future at the station may have been in doubt had Kay left.

“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 effect that, so be it.”

The January results: WFAN notched a 7.7 share in the males ages 25-54 demographic while ESPN was at 3.1.

Kay’s head-to-head win over Carton and Roberts in the Fall 2021 ratings book feels like it was a decade ago at this point. And there has been no indication Kay has a serious chance to regain ground on them, much less overtake them again. But ESPN likely sees value in continuity. Kay is an established name to sell to business partners and a proven commodity on the air. And save the long-shot blockbuster move of luring Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo from Sirius XM, there was no obvious Kay replacement that would not have come with a good amount of risk.

James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.