By Michael Battista
The month of September has been unforgiving to WFAN Radio host Craig Carton. After celebrating the 10th anniversary of his immensely popular morning sports talk show “Boomer and Carton,” with co-host and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, he was arrested for an alleged involvement in a million dollar ponzi-scheme. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, Carton resigned from the station.
“Unfortunately, the unfounded legal issues currently plaguing me will only be a distraction to everyone at WFAN and the show I helped build,” Carton said in a statement on Twitter. “With that in mind, I have submitted my resignation to the station and they accepted. I am sad to see this chapter of my life close but know that it will allow me to focus on my family, my well-being and clearing my name, while giving the show the best opportunity to succeed without further disruption.”
He’s been accused of stealing millions of dollars by selling fake concert tickets in order to pay his own gambling debts. Although the crime is terrible, it still stings to see someone who was such a large part of my life fall from grace in such a hard fashion.
On the air, Carton was loud. He was brash and sometimes downright mean to people, but to me he was always entertaining. During the 10 years he was on the air, I would wake up in the morning before school to hear him and Esiason.
The cycle was simple. Wake up and hear Carton bash a team, usually the New York Mets ever since he started “Mets Fans for Yankees” — an effort to convert Met fans away from the inevitable suffering of late season Mets baseball. Then it was eat breakfast and get dressed while hearing the duo take callers live on air. Finally, get in the car for the 40-minute trip into Jersey City for highschool, flipping back and forth between E Street Radio and WFAN.
For years I’ve always said the radio hosts on WFAN were one of the reasons why I got into sports.
Every host offered a different perspective. Late nights with WFAN radio host Steve Somers were a slow and relaxing discussion with a emphatic and well-spoken host. Middays with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts are two loud mouths to keep you going during the hump of the day. Boomer and Carton had the classic funny man routine.
It was amazing listening with my dad and hearing his different reactions to different people on WFAN, especially Carton. “He’s a loudmouth” or “He doesn’t let people finish” were common gripes, but I always stood by hosts like Carton by saying “But, Dad he’s funny!”
I learned so much about broadcasting from the duo. I learned how to be knowledgeable and respectful from Esiason, but I learned how to be loud and make my presence known from Carton. I credit my personality changes over my life to a lot of things, but the Boomer and Carton show was no small part.
Anyone can be a writer or personality in the sports world because everyone can have an opinion. But to be successful you have to stand out and make people notice you. Whether they are annoyed or entertained, they know who you are and what you do.
with the “Boomer Show” now kicked off and looking for a permanent co-host, I can now safely end that chapter of my life. I never really thought of Carton as a “good person” and he should never be any one person’s role model in life.
But here’s hoping someone else can make an impact as big as he did.