David Hasselhoff is huge in Germany. And Michael Kay is apparently huge in various corners of our majestic country.
The ESPN Radio New York afternoon drive host has never shied from attempts to excuse and explain away his ratings losses to WFAN. Kay has peddled deceptive math. He has whined about guy talk and floated Nielsen conspiracy theories. And then therr have been the grandiose proclamations. You name it, Kay has probably said it while getting beaten like a drum by Mike Francesa then and Craig Carton and Evan Roberts now alongside his limited success in over two decades on the air.
Kay’s new take: If only the ratings system could take his immense national appeal into account. From Barrett Sports Media:
[Kay] said he hates that the national audience doesn’t help the show in terms of local ratings.
“We’ve got calls from LA, Florida, North Carolina. We’re reaching more people nationally,” Kay said. “But those people don’t have meters it stinks!”
“The show’s really popular, but yeah we can’t get a rating off them,” co-host Don La Greca responded. “We’re getting calls all over the place!”
It’s like the scene in “This is Spinal Tap,” when manager Ian Faith tells the band not to sweat the Boston gig getting canceled since it’s not a big college town. Everyone knows it is a load of BS. But it makes the principal feel better about himself.
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The issue here is not Kay is saying they have listeners from other parts of the country. They likely do. People have the internet and cable TV and can stream the show or watch the YES Network simulcast. But what Kay is really trying to do here is imply that his show is actually more competitive and successful than it actually is. Which is nonsense.
Even if Kay had a substantial group of listeners outside the New York designated market area (DMA), that does nothing for ESPN Radio New York from a bottom line standpoint. And he would need to do massive numbers outside of market for any needle to be moved. Moreover, a couple of callers saying they are from out of town is not hard data. It is anecdotal information. No system that has been consistently infiltrated by Sour Shoes for years can be looked to for scientific measure.
Also: There is just as much opportunity to listen to WFAN’s stream or watch the Carton and Roberts simulcast on SNY. Maybe more, actually, given SNY likely reaches more households nationally since it is carried by stream players like YouTube TV while YES is not.
Kay wants you to think he has this silent majority following that narrows the wide chasm between him and Carton and Roberts. But he does not. The numbers are what they are. Why Kay tries to fake it — and forces La Greca to do his best Sean Spicer impression in tow — is beyond us. But it certainly does not surprise us.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.