The worst sports autumn in recent New York memory did not hurt the market's talk radio leader, WFAN, which in the fall ratings released Monday finished first in afternoon drive time and second in the morning.
The station ranked first from 3-7 p.m. in the period covering Sept. 12-Dec. 4, averaging 7.2 percent of the listening audience in the key demographic of men ages 25-54. It was the fifth time in the past six quarters (not counting summers) that Mike Francesa has finished first.
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Francesa said Monday he was particularly happy with the numbers in light of the Yankees' absence in October and the Giants' early-season flameout.
Since parting ways with his longtime partner, Chris Russo, in August 2008, Francesa largely has maintained the time slot's ratings dominance.
"That was a very, very transitional time for the station and a lot of people obviously were not only rooting against me but also waiting to see what the reaction was going to be and the numbers were going to be," he said. "I'm very, very proud of what I've accomplished the last six years."
ESPN New York's Michael Kay finished seventh in the fall with a 4.3 share, his best rating to date and the highest ranking for a show in the station's history.
But Francesa was unimpressed. "If that's the dent, good luck to him," he said. "Maybe I'll be able to find him in about another 50 years at this rate."
Kay declined to comment.
The Spanish-language station WSKQ was second to WFAN in the afternoon with a 7.0. The stations were neck and neck into late November, which is what prompted Francesa to work on Black Friday for the first time -- and the station to add a promotional giveaway of $1,000 per hour. The ploy vastly expanded the audience for that day, perhaps making the difference in a tight race.
(WFAN's ratings include both its AM and FM outlets.)
In morning drive time, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton finished tied for second from 6-10 a.m. with WSKQ at a 6.6, behind No. 1 Z100 with an 8.3. It was the WFAN morning show's highest rank in three years.
ESPN's national morning show featuring Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic ranked 11th at 3.3, half of WFAN's figure.
WFAN was fourth with a 5.3 share from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., a period that covers both Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts and the first two hours of Francesa's show. ESPN ranked 15th during those hours at 2.4.