Michael Kay’s ESPN radio returns as conspiracy theories swirl | Panda Anku

To twist a theme song a bit: Michael Kay is not on the radio today…

This was the summer’s sports radio story, explaining that Kay was on vacation but not believed, creating a vacuum for conspiracy theories.

Kay heard them all. He had a “nervous breakdown”. There was a “contract snafu”. He was “secretly fired” or “retired.”

None of this is true. After a 10-week hiatus, Kay will return to “The Michael Kay Show” after Labor Day on September 6 to join Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg as the main host of his program.

As Kay returns, it’s fair to ask if this is the beginning of the end of his stint on New York sports radio afternoons. Kay had the classic fight with Mike Francesa in the afternoon, eventually defeating WFAN on Francesa’s way out. He and his crew have now gone back and forth with Craig Carton and Evan Roberts, but C&R rapped The Kay Show for a second straight book in the spring. At 61 after two decades, will Kay be on the radio next September 6th?

Maybe. Maybe not.

His ESPN contract expires next September. We could see him staying for a few more years, but that’s how these things work. You start taking summers off, then it’s a little longer or you hang up your mic. (Sometimes, of course, one is “begged” to turn back.)

Asked directly if that might be the case, Kay didn’t say yes, but he did acknowledge that decisions are on the horizon.

“I don’t think so,” Kay told the Post. “Eventually I’ll have to make a choice as I get older, but full speed ahead now.”

While the Kay Show has repeatedly said that Kay is simply on vacation, ESPN hadn’t given a return date until this week, when it said it would be Sept. 6. Kay took all summer off because this score book is deemed unimportant.

Michael Kay on his ESPN radio show of the same name on May 19, 2022.
Michael Kay on his ESPN radio show of the same name on May 19, 2022.
YES network

Still, it’s a stark contrast to Carton, who has taken a full week off and a few three-day weekends. He and Roberts came back from vacation last month to get into the Subway Series.

Kay originally asked to take 12 weeks off, but ESPN asked him to return in early September when baseball heats up and the NFL starts in earnest.

“For me, seeing all the conspiracy theories was ridiculous,” Kay said. “‘There was a contract error.’ Or: “There was a suspension” or “I retired and they just didn’t say anything.” I read on social media that I had a nervous breakdown. Funny, I had a nervous breakdown, but I could still do the Yankee games.

“The only reason why at 61 it’s hard to do both. It’s difficult to do both for the entire baseball season, so I figured I’d do both for the first three months of the season, and the summer book—so the radio says—isn’t an important book. Jimmy Kimmel does it. Howard Stern does it. No one accused them of conspiracy theories. I basically took the summer off. It was a vacation.

Michael Kay's ESPN contract expires in September 2023.
Michael Kay’s ESPN contract expires in September 2023.

“The funniest thing for me was that people thought there was something wrong with me. Did they think there was a hologram that makes the Yankee games? All they had to do was turn on the Yankee games and I was on it right away. So how could they think there was something wrong with me? People’s imaginations, God bless them, I’m thrilled they actually noticed I was gone.”

They did. It’s fair to ask when Kay will step aside for good.

Prime launch

Amazon Prime will host its first preseason exclusive Thursday Night Football game when the 49ers take on the Texans this week. This is the soft launch of Amazon’s new billion-dollar-year deal with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football. To watch the games you’ll need an Amazon account, much like Yankee fans are doing for 21 games this year. The difference with the NFL games is that they will be available nationwide, as opposed to the Yankees, which only Prime members can access locally.

The crew for Amazon consists of Al Michaels, Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Kaylee Hartung.

Kirk Herbstreit, Al Michaels speak onstage during the Amazon presentation at IAB NewFronts 2022 on May 02, 2022 in New York City.
Kirk Herbstreit and Al Michaels will be in the dressing room for Amazon when Amazon begins airing its Thursday night soccer playlist this fall.
Getty Images for Amazon

“Although it’s a different platform, you can rest assured that we’re not going to reinvent the wheel,” Michaels said.

clicker books

Papa Clicker can’t believe it’s been 50 years since the Miami Dolphins’ perfect season, documented in Marshall Jon Fisher’s book Seventeen and Oh: Miami, 1972, and the NFL’s Only Perfect Season. It’s a nice way to remember and ring in the upcoming NFL season. It doesn’t get a perfect score, but 4.25/5 clickers is pretty good.


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