WFAN’s Mike Francesa remained atop New York sports radio ratings, hanging onto the fall book by a tenth of a point despite a mad rally by ESPN New York’s Michael Kay over what is the equivalent of the final six innings of the radio ratings game.
Kay beat Francesa in seven of the final eight weeks in the demographic that the stations judge themselves on — men, 25 to 54 — but Francesa clung to his early lead to squeak out a 5.9-5.8 victory over Kay from 3 to 6:30 p.m.
Forgetting all the other numbers, the tenth-of-a-point victory is the one that ultimately matters. Mega 97.9 FM was No. 1 in the market, at 6.3.
Francesa may have to react to the current trend if he is going to continue to hold Kay at bay. Kay won December, beating Francesa in a month for just the second time ever.
Francesa won September by the same .5 as Kay defeated Francesa in December. In November, the two tied, but Francesa had the tenth-of-a-point edge overall.
Francesa has repeatedly questioned his own unretirement wisdom in returning to FAN in May, creating this opportunity for Kay, along with his partners, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg, to try to put a “black mark” — Kay’s description — on Francesa’s legacy.
With the trio now in striking distance, Francesa soon could decide to quit radio instead of being embarrassed by losing to a station he once dubbed a bunch of “pea shooters.” Kay’s audience skews younger.
When Francesa came out of his faux retirement, he cited his paid app as the reason for his comeback. He said it was the best way he could publicize it, so he took Carlin, Maggie and Bart’s spot with a pay cut and the blessing of Entercom’s top management.
Since then, Francesa has said the $8.99-per-month Mike’s On service is not compatible with the free radio show. He also claims he has not signed a contract, while neglecting to mention he agreed to terms on a deal and is being regularly paid.
What has been clear since Chris “Mad Dog” Russo fled for satellite radio in 2008 is that Francesa needs some energy to his show. While reuniting with Russo is not an option, turning to young John Jastremski, a Mad Dog Lite of sorts, could bring out some passion the program often lacks.
This could cause logistical issues for the video on the app, as Francesa often works from his Long Island home and, according to sources, may have built a studio at his West Palm Beach getaway.
Without JJ, Francesa may be opening the door for Kay & company. Francesa’s solo show has descended into contradictory and/or uninformed opinions and crank calls that Francesa finds humorless. He sounds as if he feels he is doing everyone a favor.
During this ratings book, Francesa whined about morning host Gregg Giannotti’s impersonations of him and questioned Gio’s talent. Giannotti responded by labeling Francesa an “insecure bully” and a “narcissist.”
Francesa also sided with billionaire James Dolan in his dispute with Francesa’s WFAN teammate Maggie Gray.
And Francesa hid behind charity after being upset by the perception about the number of subscribers the Mike’s On app has, challenging a columnist to show up at FAN’s Manhattan offices. The columnist did show up, Francesa did not. Francesa never mentioned it again.
While Kay closed in on Francesa, the rest of FAN had its way with ESPN New York. In the morning, “Boomer and Gio” defeated “Golic & Wingo,” 5.6 to 3.8. “Joe & Evan” had a 5.5 share to “Humpty & Canty with Rothenberg”’s 3.3.
From 1 to 3, “Carlin, Maggie & Bart” nearly doubled Stephen A. Smith (6.0-3.3). None of the ESPN shows besides Kay finished higher than 11th. Francesa was aided by CMB boosting his first-hour ratings. From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., WFAN’s share is 5.7 (second) to ESPN’s 4.3 (10th). It is not much of a contest overall. If you add streaming numbers, FAN was No. 1 overall in the market.
It is a battle from 3 to 6:30. Both shows pulled out gimmicks on the final day of the book, Kay starting two hours early and Francesa having a commercial-free interview with the Mets hierarchy for 90 minutes on the final day.
Francesa still reigns, but he has to decide if he wants to retreat, find reinforcements or risk going it alone, as Kay is closer than ever.
Source: Read Full Article