This composite image shows WFAN's Mike Francesa, left, and ESPN...

This composite image shows WFAN's Mike Francesa, left, and ESPN New York's Michael Kay. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke, AP

The closely watched radio ratings battle between Mike Francesa and Michael Kay continued apace in February, with Francesa performing better than he had in January, setting up what should be an interesting finish when the full winter book is released next month.

In the key demographic of men ages 25-54, WFAN’s combined share of the listening audience from 3 to 6:30 p.m. was 6.4 percent, including both over-the-air and streaming data. ESPN New York’s was 5.8 percent. Without streaming included, WFAN averaged 5.6 percent.

An apples-to-apples comparison is complicated by the fact that Nielsen Audio includes both streaming and over-the-air data in ESPN’s number because it uses the same commercials for both. WFAN has separate commercials and thus separate ratings.

The ratings data that came out on Monday should be considered akin to the second intermission of a hockey game. Stations traditionally judge themselves on full quarterly books. Kay never has beaten Francesa for a full book.

Francesa took a week off in February, one example of why a longer measuring period is more representative.

In January, Kay averaged a 5.8 share, with streaming and over-the-air combined. Francesa averaged 5.7 with streaming and over-the-air combined and 5.0 without streaming.

The numbers for the full autumn ratings book were almost identical to February’s, indicating the race has settled into a narrow pattern.

Last fall, Francesa edged Kay, 5.9 to 5.8, if one excluded WFAN’s streaming data and 6.4 to 5.8 with streaming included.

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