Michael Kay continues ratings dominance as ESPN Radio considers other change

In the first full ratings book of the second Mike Francesa semi-retirement era, the story stayed the same in sports radio afternoons.

ESPN New York’s “The Michael Kay Show” remained the king, while WFAN’s new drive-time program, “Joe & Evan,” along with Francesa’s half hour, were looking way up for the completed three-month winter book, recorded by Nielsen Audio.

Kay and his partners, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg, will collect bonuses for finishing No. 1 overall in the afternoon among men 25-54 males. The trio also handily beat Francesa in the fall on Francesa’s way out the full-time door.

In the morning, WFAN’s “Boomer & Gio” were No. 1 in the market when streaming was included, as it crushed ESPN Radio’s morning show, “Golic & Wingo.”

This leads us to a little news. ESPN is considering making changes to the national morning program at some point this year, according to sources. Trey Wingo’s contract is soon expiring. Wingo has a TV presence, too, as he will host the 2020 NFL Draft next week. The idea that ESPN will make a change with Wingo and Mike Golic has been bandied about for a while now.

After “Golic & Wingo” struggled, finishing 15th in the market, ESPN New York’s local programming did well against WFAN’s post-Francesa lineup for the three-month period, which was mostly conducted before the shutdown of sports by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the big moves was Bart Scott leaving more money on the table from FAN to go to ESPN New York, which paid off for 98.7.

From 1-3 p.m., against the last hour of Maggie Gray and Marc Malusis and the first hour of Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno, Scott and his partner, Alan Hahn, had a 5.3 to 4.9 advantage. When WFAN’s stream is added, it moves ahead 5.9-5.3.

“Bart & Hahn” were fourth, while FAN moved to second with the stream in a neck-and-neck race.

In radio, shows ratings can be bridges for each other.

“Boomer & Gio” (6.7 share with the stream) dwarfed “Golic & Wingo” at 2.9. This lead-in makes Humpty, Canty & Rothenberg’s numbers more impressive.

The ESPN New York trio beat the new FAN duo from 10-1, when they went head-to-head by a 4.1 to 4.0 number. When FAN’s stream is added, then Malusis and Gray vault ahead from seventh place to third, moving past 5.1. For “Moose & Maggie,” it is not spectacular, but it is solid.

However, in New York sports radio, the afternoon, local vs. local, has always been the heavyweight fight.

The last time Francesa semi-retired, FAN went with the team of Scott, Gray and Chris Carlin. After Kay squeaked by that trio, Francesa — who had trouble finding other gainful employment opportunities — returned to FAN, displacing the new team. Carlin, like Scott, has since left for ESPN and is working nights there.

For this book, with stream counting for both, the Kay Show dominated Roberts, Benigno and Francesa, 7.3 to 5.2. Francesa’s half hour is actually a drag on “Joe & Evan’s” numbers. The Kay Show, with Rosenberg’s news segment, has a 7.7 share from 6-6:30 p.m., while Francesa has a 4.8 number and that’s with the stream.

Sports radio is now challenging for everyone with COVID-19 either postponing or cancelling all events. The shows that are doing the best, “Boomer & Gio” on FAN and “The Michael Kay Show” have range. They do sports, but they also do just talk.

That was always the question with “Joe & Evan,” which is considered a meat-and-potatoes sports show. It is exacerbated now.

Going forward into the spring, ESPN’s hosts, The Post has learned, have agreed not to accept bonuses for the ratings as advertising is way down on all stations. For the winter, though, it is bonus time for Kay and company.

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