YES Network Dumping Mike Francesa Simulcast, Picking Up Kay's ESPN Show
The simulcast relationship between WFAN-AM's Mike Francesa and the YES Network, which has lasted more than 10 years, "will be over by the end of January," according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. YES will "replace Francesa’s afternoon drive show with ESPN Radio 98.7 N.Y's 'The Michael Kay Show.'" A source "confirmed the switch." The source said the move is strictly a "matter of economics." The source added that the rights fee WFAN is asking for Francesa’s simulcast was "becoming too pricey for YES and far exceeding what YES will pay to air the simulcast of Kay’s ESPN soiree." WFAN's simulcast contract with YES for Francesa's show "expires January 31." There "has been speculation" behind the scenes that Francesa giving Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez "an exclusive platform on his show may have rankled YES and Yankee brass, thus speeding up" Francesa's departure. However, the source said of the speculation, "Not true." It is likely Kay’s show will "debut the week leading up the the Super Bowl at Met Life Stadium." The YES simulcast is "a coup" for ESPN Radio 98.7 N.Y and Kay, who "also is YES’ play-by-play voice of the Yankees." While Kay’s show has "continued to trail Francesa badly in the radio ratings, the YES simulcast should provide it with more visibility and more listeners." It also will "give Kay the opportunity to promote other" ESPN Radio 98.7 N.Y shows. Francesa's simulcast days are "likely not over," as CBS, "which owns WFAN, has put out feelers to other TV outlets to gauge their interest in airing Francesa’s show" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/15).