WFAN "Afternoon Drive" co-hosts, from left, Maggie Gray, Chris Carlin...

WFAN "Afternoon Drive" co-hosts, from left, Maggie Gray, Chris Carlin and Bart Scott. Credit: Twitter @ChrisCarlin

WFAN’s new afternoon show averaged 4.4 percent of the radio audience and ranked sixth in the market among men ages 25-54 from 2 to 6:30 p.m. in its first month on the air, according to Nielsen Audio figures covering Jan. 4 through 31.

In the 3 ½ hours from 3 to 6:30 p.m. that the show is head-to-head against ESPN New York’s “The Michael Kay Show,” WFAN’s Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray averaged a 4.3 share, tied for eighth in the key demographic. Kay was 12th at 3.5.

Both station’s numbers were down significantly from the fall ratings period, Mike Francesa’s last at WFAN. From October to December, Francesa ranked second with an average rating of 6.6 and Kay was fourth at 5.0.

Traditionally, radio ratings are judged by quarterly “books,” so the January figures should be considered merely a partial score, like the first intermission of a hockey game. The official winter book runs through March 28.

But there has been intense interest in how WFAN’s new “The Afternoon Drive,” will perform in a post-Francesa era, both in comparison to Francesa and in competition with Kay. The January data offers an early snapshot.

Mark Chernoff, WFAN’s vice president of programming, said it is too soon for him to comment in depth on the new show and its ratings beyond saying, “I like the show. They’re doing a lot of right things. Their chemistry is good.”

Chernoff noted that the sports stations are being done no favors by the lack of recent success among local teams.

“I kind of wish there was more going on in New York sports in January,” he said, “but I can’t account for that kind of stuff.”

WFAN’s morning show, which ranked first in the autumn book, was seventh in January with a 5.0 percent share of the radio audience, nearly double ESPN’s 2.8. It was Gregg Giannotti’s first full month as Craig Carton’s replacement alongside Boomer Esiason.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts had a 4.9 to 2.3 edge over ESPN among men ages 25-54.

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