Even After Earning His Dream Job with the Yankees, Michael Kay Remains a Ram at Heart


Michael Kay, FCRH ’82, now sits high above Yankee Stadium as a broadcaster, but he started out at WFUV. (John Keating/MCT)

Published: April 30, 2009

To baseball fans, Michael Kay is the voice of the New York Yankees on the YES Network.  Behind his public persona, however, Kay is first and foremost a proud Fordham graduate with a strong dedication to the Fordham community.

After graduating from Fordham in 1982, Kay worked his way through the ranks of the sports media world, starting as a public address announcer for the New York Pro Summer Basketball League.  He also worked for The New York Post as a reporter before earning a job with MSG Network as the host of the popular SportsNight television show.  Kay joined the Yankees’ family in 1992 as the team’s radio announcer on WABC Radio, becoming the first newspaper reporter in any sport to become a full-time broadcaster.  Kay joined the YES Network in 2002 to become the television voice of the Yankees.  During his years with the team, Kay has been nominated for over a dozen New York Emmys, both individually and as part of the Yankees’ broadcast crew.

Michael Kay’s journey in broadcasting began on the grounds of the Fordham Rose Hill campus and in the studios of Fordham’s radio station, WFUV.  Kay cites his time behind the microphone at WFUV as a formative experience that immersed him into the media industry for the first time.

“I used a lot of those contacts to get my first positions in the industry,” Kay said of his work at the Fordham radio station.

Kay is part of a prestigious list of WFUV veterans that have been successful in the sports media industry and is aware of his special place within that group.  The list of active Fordham alumni in the industry includes legendary Dodgers’ announcer Vin Scully, New York Giants’ announcer Bob Papa, Jack Curry of the New York Times, Eddie Caggianelli and John Giannone of the MSG Network, Washington Nationals’ announcer Charlie Slowes and New York Knicks’ announcer Mike Breen, a close friend of Kay’s from their days together at Fordham.

“We were two guys who sat in the campus center and talked about what we were going to do,” Kay said.  “He said he wanted to be the Knicks’ announcer and I said I wanted to be the Yankees’ announcer. Go figure.”

“There is almost an unspoken bond amongst the grads that have made it in the business, almost an incredible pride to be part of that line,” Kay said.  The impact that Kay and his fellow Fordham graduates have had on WFUV remains strong at the station today.

“Michael and the others have left a legacy of excellence for the broadcasters of the future to strive for,” said Bob Ahrens, executive sports producer at WFUV.

Kay continues to participate in the Fordham community in several important ways despite his demanding schedule.  He is a member of the nominating committee for the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award and also works with WFUV beat reporters assigned to Yankee games.

“I think Michael believes he owes Fordham a debt of gratitude because Fordham and WFUV paved the way for his success,” said John Cirillo, FCRH ’78, an instructor at Fordham’s Sports Communication Institute where Kay has been a guest speaker.

Kay also serves as the master of ceremonies for the Fordham Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony each year.  It is a ceremony that is close to Kay’s heart and an opportunity that he values greatly.

“I love doing that event. It’s in the morning, usually in January, and I love the campus at that time,” said Kay.  “I think the world of Father McShane, and I get the chance to sit with him during the lunch and just talk about anything…. He could probably do my job better than I do and I certainly couldn’t do his.”

His participation in events like the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is not simply an obligatory task for Kay.  He truly immerses himself in the Fordham community, going well beyond simply giving back to his roots.

“One year, after serving as master of ceremonies for the Hall of Fame ceremonies, Michael could have easily left once his duties were finished because the had a flight to Tampa for spring training early the next day, and lots to do,” recalled Cirillo.  “Instead, not only did he stay for the men’s basketball game, he also stayed for a portion of the women’s game which followed. That’s the level of support that he gives [Fordham] athletics.”