Mike Francesa of WFAN and Michael Kay of ESPN New York took to Twitter on Wednesday in an escalation of the latest round in their long radio ratings battle.
Both afternoon drive time hosts were off for the holiday week, but that did not stop them from airing grievances, bluntly and publicly.
It began shortly after noon, when Newsday reported that Francesa had edged Kay in over-the-air ratings for the quarterly autumn book, 5.9 percent of the listening audience among men ages 25-54 to 5.8 percent.
Francesa had an additional 0.5 percent of the audience through WFAN's live stream. ESPN's figure includes its streaming audience, which is much smaller than WFAN's.
In early afternoon, Francesa posted a tweet that read, "Very tough for constant and chronic losers to lose as always, especially when they give away a ton of money and still lose. I was No.1 in the fall book. Others make up nonsense."
That was a reference to giveaways that ESPN promoted during the ratings period, which ended on Dec. 5. WFAN used an 11th hour ratings ploy of its own on Dec. 5 when Francesa interviewed the Mets' Jeff Wilpon, Brodie Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway in-studio for more than 90 minutes.
Kay's response to Francesa's tweet was biting: "You know what’s a really cool trick? Listen closely to what a person says or tweets and you can tell that they have a really small, tiny, insignificant package of self esteem and self worth. You really can!"
A few hours later, Kay rethought his approach, tweeting, "Earlier today I sent out a tweet in response to an unprovoked tweet sent out earlier by @MikeFrancesa and I want to apologize to my family, friends and fans who expect better from me. No need for me to respond in kind when those that listen to my show know that’s not me."
Then he added, "I would also like to congratulate @MikeFrancesa on his tenth of a point victory in the three-month battle. Fair and square ...Mike finished second and I was third. All good. I have no complaints in life. Can’t wait to do battle over the next 3 months."
Then this: "And finally, a thank you to all @TMKSESPN fans who have consistently put this show into the top five in the key demo. We love you and appreciate you and want you to have fun when you listen. We look forward to our spirited competition with @MikeFrancesa to continue for years."