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Mike Francesa's WFAN afternoon radio show tops the ratings for May

Mike Francesa simulcasts from the SiriusXM set at

Mike Francesa simulcasts from the SiriusXM set at Super Bowl 51 Radio Row at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Feb. 2, 2017 in Houston. Photo Credit: Getty Images for SiriusXM/Cindy Ord

Mike Francesa finished first overall in the New York-area radio ratings in May among men ages 25-54 for over-the-air and streaming audiences combined, according to data from Nielsen Audio covering the period April 25 to May 22.

Francesa averaged 7.2 percent of the listening audience in that demographic from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Of that total, 0.5 percent came from live streaming.

ESPN New York’s “The Michael Kay Show” ranked second overall with an average of 6.9 percent of the audience, a figure that includes both over-the-air and streaming data.

Unlike WFAN, ESPN uses the same advertisements on both, so Nielsen reports its ratings as one number. ESPN has declined to break down how much of its rating comes from streaming, so an apples-to-apples comparison with WFAN is not possible.

In April, Francesa finished first overall among men 25-54, with a combined average of 7.5 percent of the radio audience compared to 6.1 for Kay, who was second overall.

Radio ratings races traditionally are decided by quarterly “books,” so the final report will not be available for the spring until mid-July. The April and May numbers represent only two-thirds of the story.

Two months in, Francesa leads 7.3 to 6.5, with 0.5 percent of Francesa’s total coming from live streaming.

There has been intense interest in the race between the afternoon shows in recent years, with Kay far outpacing ESPN New York’s ratings for its other shows and narrowing what had been a large gap between him and Francesa.

Francesa suggested last October he might leave WFAN to focus on his app and admitted his return to the station last May after a four-month hiatus was more “uncomfortable” than he anticipated.

It still is not clear how long he will remain, but regardless of his near future changes figure to be afoot elsewhere on the schedule.

The contracts of midday hosts Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott are up at the end of the year, and it is unlikely the station will continue to pay eight hosts on four shows from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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