I always say that consistency over time equals credibility and one of the prime examples of how that looks when put into play is with Michael Kay, who is someone that I have known for over 20 years.
Michael got his start at the New York Post covering a variety of sports topics until he was assigned as the New York Yankees beat writer. He then moved over to the New York Daily News and in addition to his work covering the Yankees and joining John Sterling in the radio booth on WABC, he also covered the New York Knicks and contributed to MSG SportsDesk.
When the YES Network was created, he moved over to TV and became the play-by-play voice of the New York Yankees. Shortly after that he began hosting an afternoon drive show on ESPN Radio bearing his name, "The Michael Kay Show."
Among many accolades throughout his career, Kay has won multiple Emmy awards for his work.
As you can tell, Michael has seemingly done it all, but the important thing to understand is that success doesn't always mean just being the hardest worker...Michael is also one of the smartest workers I have ever seen. To be the voice of one of the most powerful brands in all of sports is no small feat. I sat down with Michael to discuss his journey.
Brandon Steiner: What’s different about sports today from when you started as a writer, then a broadcaster and now a radio host?
Michael Kay: The immediacy of the information. Doing a radio show just 8 years ago is totally different than today. Back then you were reacting to the info in the papers and now, in a great many senses, the papers react to what is done on social media or radio and TV. Info comes fast and furious now and it was not always that way.
BS: In baseball specifically, how have players changed over the years? And fans?
MK: Players are much more media savvy and also know they don't need the media anymore because with Twitter and Facebook and The Player's Tribune, you can get your message out without a middle man.
As for fans, they are much more informed and that makes you work harder to stay just as informed.
BS: What was your favorite behind-the-scenes moment from Derek Jeter’s # retirement weekend?
MK: Easily the dinner the night before at Tao. The Yankees set up an intimate gathering of people that would be involved with the ceremony and Derek and his whole family were there. Urged by David Cone, everyone stood up and talked about Derek. It was intimate and wonderful and I was honored to simply be a fly on the wall and take it all in.
BS: What would you say to the aspiring broadcaster that just graduated this month about nailing their dream job?
MK: Work harder than anyone else because there is very little difference talent wise from one person to the next -- although there is the occasional outlier -- so the one that stands out is the one who doesn't punch a clock or worry about what time it is. I'm convinced my work ethic played an enormous role in where I am right now.
BS: Last time we did a post a few years ago you had just moved over to a YES Network simulcast. In the past year you and Don La Greca added a new team member on the Michael Kay Show with Peter Rosenberg. What has been the best part about that transition?
MK: The transition to the simulcast has been huge. It lends a bigness to the proceedings and certainly makes it easier to get guests who know YES is seen all around the country. I'm convinced that with the simulcast, the podcasting of the show, the ESPN app, and the top ten ratings we have on radio, we are consumed by significantly more people than our competitors. Unfortunately, with the antiquated radio ratings as the only system, that is the way they keep score at the moment.
As for Peter, his addition has gotten us younger listeners and opened us up to a new audience. Peter is on trend and has a great social media presence. He appeals to millennials and I think the more ears we attract, the better. And he's a good guy who fits in quite well with our frat house type vibe. It's supposed to be fun and not sound like a dissertation.
BS: Are the 2017 Yankees for real?
MK: They are much further ahead than I thought they would be but I think they are still short on starting pitching and that will stop them from making a championship run this year. Although with their fertile farm system, if they are close at the trade deadline, they will acquire a pitcher or two and then it would be game on.
BS: Who is one athlete, or person in the sports world, you would love to meet, but that you never got the opportunity?
MK: I would love to have Michael Jordan on CenterStage. I've met him but never really sat down with him.
BS: You have the Yankees, ESPN Radio…what’s the next big project for you?
MK: I would like to see how my skill set would play on a national platform, whether it be play by play or CenterStage. That opportunity would excite me. I recently did my first national game on FS1 and had a great time and I have done three playoff series on ESPN Radio over the years. So, it has happened in a small way. But, everything plays off the Yankees on YES and I've done it for 26 years and wouldn't mind doing it for 50 years. Only 24 more to go!
BS: Thank you, Michael.
Michael Kay is the television play-by-play broadcaster of the New York Yankees, host of CenterStage on the YES Network, and the host of The Michael Kay Show heard on ESPN Radio in New York City and simulcast on YES Network. Follow Michael Kay on Twitter at @RealMichaelKay.