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WFAN and ESPN New York in Tight Race in Afternoons

The first ratings book during the post-Mike Francesa era is not complete, but after two months ESPN is knocking on WFAN’s door in an attempt to top FAN’s afternoon show for the first time.

With the afternoon shows garnering the most attention, WFAN’s The Afternoon Drive won the first month (January) but The Michael Kay Show rebounded in February, meaning March is likely to determine which show wins the quarter. Ratings books are comprised of quarterly performances and since entering the New York sports radio scene in 2002 The Michael Kay Show has yet to beat WFAN’s afternoon show for a full quarter.

In January, WFAN’s The Afternoon Drive with Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott produced a 4.3 from 3pm – 6:30pm, the hours they go head to head with The Michael Kay Show which did a 3.5. In February, The Michael Kay Show jumped to a 4.5 with WFAN’s The Afternoon Drive dropping to a 3.5.

Generally the first book of the year is a slow ratings period for sports talk in New York. To compare though, Mike Francesa earned a 6.0 during the 2017 winter book and The Michael Kay Show did a 4.5. While Francesa was on the air, The Michael Kay Show never beat him for a full quarter and scored a higher monthly rating than WFAN’s afternoon show just once, June of 2017.

When asked by Newsday’s Neil Best about WFAN’s new afternoon show, Francesa didn’t want to judge his successors.

“I promised I wouldn’t, and I don’t think it’s fair,” Francesa told Best. “What I’ll say about the show is this: What anyone thinks of a show, good or bad, what it comes down to is the business side. Is it going to be successful in the ratings? Is it going to produce revenue? That’s going to define a show. Nothing else matters.”

WFAN’s other new program, Boomer and Gio in the morning did a 4.8 in February, ESPN’s national show with Trey Wingo and Mike Golic delivered a 3.2 in New York. In 2017, Boomer and Carton ranked first in New York among men 25-54 with a 7.3 for the full winter book.

The first quarterly book of 2018 ends March 28th. Winter sports in New York have had an exceedingly subpar season and both stations will expect a ratings boost in the spring as Major League Baseball kicks off.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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