Michael Kay feels ‘more pressure’ to win ratings war against Craig Carton

Michael Kay feels ‘more pressure’ to win ratings war against Craig Carton


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It’s more fun being the hunter than the hunted.

That’s how Michael Kay feels about the ESPN New York–WFAN afternoon radio war now that Craig Carton is in the driver’s seat at Kay’s rival instead of Mike Francesa.

Kay surpassed longtime No. 1 Francesa in 2019 before Francesa retired. But Carton, who returned to WFAN after a three-year absence – which included one year in federal prison for fraud – won the winter ratings book with partner Evan Roberts.

“I don’t want to lose to Craig,” Kay told former WFAN host John Jastremski on the “New York, New York” podcast. “He’s a guy who came back and I had the lead and Mike was retiring and you figure, ‘Oh, you’re gonna have a couple years where you can relax a little.’ With Craig, you’re not gonna relax. Craig’s really, really good at this. I think there’s more pressure now because I was the one that was in first. Mike was always the one in first, so I didn’t have the pressure. He did. I don’t even know if he thought it was pressure, but I feel more pressure now than I did trying to chase Mike, if that makes sense.”

That is why going head-to-head against Francesa was a more pleasant experience for Kay.

“I really enjoyed the Mike thing because I was the underdog then,” Kay said. “The underdog, if you lose, you lost. You gave it a good shot. Mike, he invented this essentially. He was the king. Just to try to knock him off was fun. And as we were getting closer and closer, I couldn’t even believe it was happening. I never got a chance to listen to him once we started going up against him, but you know what? I’m not sucking up to anybody — I know Mike doesn’t like me — I consider it an honor to have competed against him. I really do. I just thought, you’re going to the top of the mountain. You’re trying to scale the guy at the top of the mountain. What could be more fun than that? I loved it.”

ESPN New York moved “The Michael Kay Show” up to a 2 p.m. start to go right up against “Carton & Roberts” for the spring book.

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