Former Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray have helped TalkSport radio boost its audience, according to figures just released.
But while the station reported a year-on-year increase of 100,000 listeners per week in the timeslot occupied by Keys and Gray since February, it may have come at a price.
The 13 per cent drop in profits during the same period is reported to be in part due to the two pundits’ impact on the station’s wage bill.
Nevertheless, TalkSport, which boasts around three million listeners per month, said its investment in enhanced Premier League coverage had boosted revenues as well as audience numbers.
TalkSport boss Scott Taunton said of Keys and Gray: “There’s no one who’s a football fan who questions their knowledge of the game. They’ve brought to the station a contact book that we’ve never had before. Most presenters or reporters can get an interview with Wayne Rooney but they have him in the studio for a whole hour.”
In January, Keyes and Gray found themselves at the centre of a sexism scandal after off-camera remarks about female referee’s assistant Sian Massey were recorded and anonymously passed on to The Mail on Sunday newspaper.
That in turn sparked the appearance of an archive of tasteless comments and incidents featuring the two football pundits and led to Gray’s dismissal by Sky and Keys’s subsequent resignation.