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Michael Kay simulcast starts on YES Feb. 3
The YES Network made official Thursday what long had been expected: That Michael Kay's ESPN New York radio program will be simulcast on YES starting Feb. 3.
That will be the day after WFAN's Mike Francesa concludes his run at the station with his Super Bowl Sunday morning show.
Francesa and his former partner, Chris Russo, had their show simulcast on YES since the network's inception in 2002.
It is not yet clear where Francesa's show will land on television, but he has said he does expect to find a new simulcast home.
Kay has been YES' Yankees play-by-play man since 2002.
"Michael Kay is a New York sports institution, having covered the New York sports scene for more than 30 years,” John J. Filippelli, YES' President, Production and Programming said in a news release.
"Michael personifies the New York sports scene. He boasts a constant stream of A-list guests, and gives passionate New York sports fans a platform to exchange their views. Michael fits in perfectly with our programming lineup.
"We also thank Mike Francesa for his 12-year partnership with YES. Mike – along with Chris Russo when they co-hosted our simulcast for the first six years – played an important role in the launch and growth of YES. We wish him all the best.”
Traug Keller, senior vice president, production business divisions, ESPN, said in the news release, “The team of Michael Kay and Don LaGreca has been a staple of ESPN New York since 2002. We are pleased to work with YES to increase the show’s exposure, allowing New York sports fans another outlet to enjoy compelling content.”
Kay said, “I'm really happy Don (LaGreca) and I are going to be simulcast on YES. We have a great time doing the ESPN Radio show and that will come through even more with the visual aspect.
"While it is still predominantly a radio show, I don't think you should ignore the camera in the room and we are going to have fun with that. The national reach of YES is going to allow even more people access. And the people at YES, where I have worked since the onset, do everything first class so I'm sure the show is going to be presented in a great manner. I can't wait."
Francesa said when he announced he and YES were parting ways at the end of his contract - which technically expires Jan. 31 - that the decision was driven both by concerns over editorial control and economics.
YES is believed to be paying about $600,000 per year for Kay's show, significantly less than what it had been spending on Francesa's show.
Said YES spokesman Eric Handler: ":We evaluated all of our options and the Michael Kay program presents a great business and programming opportunity for us."
Handler said he is not yet aware of how some of the logistical challenges the show will present will be addressed, other than to confirm Kay will do his show from outside Yankee Stadium on game days.
That is because CBS Radio, which owns WFAN, has the radio rights inside the stadium and can thus keep Kay's ESPN show out.
Upon going on the air Thursday, Kay said,"We're going to have fun with it, Don . . . It's still essentially a radio show, but the camera is the elephant in the room. We’re going to play to it. We can't wait."