Craig in Morris County has weighed in on the sports talk radio news of the day, complete with a fresh shot at his old nemesis.
WFAN legend and FS1 morning host Craig Carton offered some thoughts on Tuesday about ESPN Radio New York’s decision to dump its FM signal in 2024. And they included a dig at Michael Kay.
“[ESPN] had a shot,” Carton tweeted. “But 20 years w/1 afternoon show that never got consistent ratings or gave reliably compelling content not being local from 6a-7p changing hosts too often and when there was blood in the water they made zero commitment to be local all day and didn’t take advantage.”
All valid points.
Carton is 100% correct that Kay’s inability to consistently defeat WFAN’s big guns limited ESPN’s potential. Kay won two ratings books in 15-plus combined years competing against Mike Francesa, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and Carton. And ESPN’s inability to go fully local has also been a hindrance.
Rick DiPietro and Dave Rothenberg are never going to beat Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti in the mornings. But the continued commitment to airing Mike Greenberg’s national show that he rarely hosts himself gives Alan Hahn and Bart Scott no shot of being a locally relevant midday show. Which then weakens the lead-in for Kay and brings us back to the main issue.
As for Carton’s “blood in the water” reference: We can only speculate about which timeframe he is referencing. Two guesses: WFAN was vulnerable in 2020 when Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts were struggling in afternoon drive and the Maggie Gray-Marc Malusis midday show was not resonating (and it never did).
The other guess? Right now, of course. Sal Licata and Brandon Tierney are off to an uneven start. The same for Tiki Barber, Roberts and Shaun Morash. Fans are not digging the sound. And both programs have embarrassed themselves with erroneous commentary and reporting.
It feels like ESPN has an opening. Or, it at least felt like it did. We’ll see. Back after this.