Peter Rosenberg, a DJ for Hot 97, Michael Kay’s co-host on ESPN Radio, and recurring sleeping pill of a talking head on WWE programing, struggles to grapple with Mike Francesa’s 30-year run of relevance and resonance with the New York audience, and badly wants everyone to look at him doing it.
This has been going on for quite sometime, and the latest episode saw him attack longtime Newsday sports media reporter Neil Best for alleged favoritism when presenting the last Francesa ratings book, in which he finished second to LiteFM WLTW.
Rosenberg getting mad at Best for sharing Francesa’s final week ratings, which are certainly of interest to readers more than any other run-of-the-mill week, is kinda ridiculous. He also asked Best why he didn’t mention Francesa’s not finishing in the top spot in the last quarterly ratings book, which Best explicitly did in the story linked at the beginning of the thread Rosenberg was responding to. [UPDATE: As reader Jeremy Schilling points out, this was the final week of the ratings book, which was Francesa’s third-to-last week, not his final week.]
Also in the story, Best gave Kay’s quarterly number a compliment in saying that it was “in keeping with recent strong showings for Kay compared to other programs on that channel.” Nevertheless, Rosenberg remained aggrieved.
Did Best spend an awful lot amount of time chronicling Francesa, especially over the last several months? Yep. But it’s hard to blame him. Best has consistently explained that Francesa is a far bigger traffic draw than any New York athlete. Anybody criticizing content creators in the newspaper/digital media industry for overexposing a subject that draws a considerable audience needs to realize that shying away from that is not a good strategy for longevity.
Anyways, Rosenberg wasn’t done:
In picking a battle like this, Rosenberg reeks of jealousy and pettiness which, again, is nothing new. On Francesa’s final day on the air, Rosenberg predicted the show would be “boring and overhyped like the last 6-700” and trolled Francesa for the time he fell asleep on-air.
Rosenberg, like some other media members, was unable to look past the bluster and egomania of Francesa and just be entertained by the show. As Colin Cowherd often says, this is the interesting business, and the New York audience has been more interested in Francesa than the trio of Kay, Rosenberg, and Don La Greca every quarter they’ve gone head to head.
With Francesa gone from WFAN, Rosenberg realized that the show he’s on would never win, and resorted to making absurd arguments like “our radio show is actually much better by any non new york biased objective radio standard.”
This, of course, makes no sense. They are both New York talk radio shows. It’s not like The Michael Kay Show was parachuting in nationally and being expected to compete. It bothers him that he always lost the game, so he’s whining that the rules are inherently unfair. It’s disingenuous, like the time he ripped Barstool’s Super Bowl party, which, when confronted about it on Barstool Radio, he acknowledged inviting himself into.
I’ll admit that I haven’t listened to much of Rosenberg on Hot 97 and ESPN New York, but he is in my personal opinion atrocious in his role on WWE Network studio programming before and after big events. WWE performers — both wrestlers and anyone else on the microphone — work best when there is a degree of subversive irony and straddling of the fourth wall. But Rosenberg never risks pushing himself beyond mundane, state-sanctioned analysis to even scratch the surface of surreality.
To be fair, he’s in all likelihood fulfilling the role asked of him by the show’s producers; WWE canceled Talking Smack, which waded in deeper waters, and everyone who works there knows you can get electrocuted if you try to cross the McMahon family’s sometimes-invisible fence, but Rosenberg hasn’t done anything in his role there to differentiate himself from anyone off the street they could plug into the spot.
That was a digression, but the moral of the story is that Rosenberg has been a relentlessly successful self-promoter to attain spots on the platforms he’s on, but there will probably never come a time where he is revered on a level like we saw with Francesa on his victory lap at WFAN. Rosenberg is within his right to believe that’s unjustified, but his petulance on the matter is unbecoming.