"Carton and Roberts," WFAN’s afternoon drive time radio program, made its SNY simulcast debut on Monday, complete with a new intro, a new set and new front in its battle with ESPN New York’s "The Michael Kay Show."
SNY’s intro included a clip of Craig Carton referencing the show’s recent ratings victories over Kay. The telecast then joined Monday’s program in progress, with Evan Roberts defending the energy of the Nets’ home crowd.
Then Carton jumped in and said, "I’m very happy to tell you that we are now also officially part of the SNY family . . . It’s great. We’re thrilled about it, and we hope for a very long-lasting relationship."
Both hosts emphasized that the show would not alter its content for TV.
"Nothing else changes at all," Carton said. "It’s just Carton and Roberts. There’s just more of us."
Said Roberts, "Don’t worry. It’s the same jackass-ery Craig Carton that you’ve grown to love."
After debating the relative merits of the local teams’ crowds over the weekend, the two discussed a Newsday story about Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky giving a family he met at a restaurant on Thursday four tickets to Game 3 of a playoff series against the Penguins that night.
It turned out Carton was a family friend – unbeknownst to Ledecky – and Carton relayed the story on the air on Friday, prompting Newsday to follow up and write an article it.
Carton said Ledecky then emailed him and invited him to a game during the playoffs.
Carton closed the simulcast by taking a shot at Kay that referenced a notorious radio simulcast incident from February of 2014, when Kay replaced Francesa as YES’ radio simulcast offering. Kay ceremoniously dumped a bottle of diet Coke – a Francesa trademark – into a garbage can that day.
On Monday, Carton opened a 12-pack of Diet Coke cans and made two six-can stacks on the set.
"There is a new sheriff in town," he said. "And in honor of Mike Francesa, the Diet Coke in afternoon drive New York City will always be king. So it is out of the garbage can, and something you have to deal with on a daily basis."
Carton and Roberts have improved on their ratings relative to Kay every month since Carton returned to WFAN in November.
Now there will be two hours of head-to-head TV ratings to measure as well. Kay’s show is seen on the YES Network from 2 to 6:30 p.m., but "Carton & Roberts" only appears on SNY from 4 to 6 p.m., while its show airs on radio from 2 to 7 p.m. (Kay’s YES simulcast and “Carton and Roberts” on radio often end earlier based on Yankees pre-game shows.)
About 15 minutes before the SNY simulcast, Kay and his partners, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg, discussed what Kay described as management growing tired of his radio performance.
It was unclear whether Kay was joking around, but he insisted to his partners that he was serious. The chyron at the bottom of the TV screen at one point read, "Are the suits souring on ‘The Michael Kay Show?’"
When La Greca insisted station executives Tim McCarthy and Ryan Hurley still are fond of him, Kay said, "Listen, they love me as a friend, but they’re tired of the act on the radio. Things are not going well. What can I say?"