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Carton Talks Career, Prison Sentence On ESPN NY

“For one full commercial-less hour, Carton sat in studio next to Peter Rosenberg and Don La Greca while Michael Kay joined the trio from Minute Maid Park”

Brandon Contes

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Dressed in a hoodie and baseball hat, wearing headphones with just one ear covered, Craig Carton looked like the same radio host that entertained the city of New York for a decade.  Instead of boisterously dominating mornings on WFAN, Carton was a guest on ESPN New York’s afternoon show to answer questions about his derailed life.

The last time he was heard on New York sports radio, the audience didn’t know he committed fraud or about his gambling addiction, Craig Carton himself wasn’t even aware of the hole he was digging for himself.

For one full commercial-less hour, Carton sat in studio next to Peter Rosenberg and Don La Greca while Michael Kay joined the trio from Minute Maid Park, where the sounds of batting practice regularly bled into the conversation.

At times Carton looked uncomfortable, but rarely seemed like a person heading to prison for three and a half years.  Right away Craig echoed Boomer Esiason’s earlier statement, saying he did contact WFAN about doing a sit-down first, but they declined to have him.  Both Boomer and program director, Mark Chernoff felt the WFAN morning show had moved on and didn’t want to put Carton’s successor, Gregg Giannotti in an awkward position.  

Carton still felt it was important to make a New York sports radio return and apologize to the listeners.  ESPN NY gave him that platform, which was a surprise considering Carton and Kay Show co-host, Peter Rosenberg had a number of feuds over the years as WFAN battled with Rosenberg’s Hot 97 morning show for ratings.

On Monday, Rosenberg understood Carton’s crimes, putting the pieces together of someone being an addict and “doing stupid stuff to protect ridiculous debt,” but Peter didn’t ignore the issues he’s had with Craig in the past.  Referring to Carton as an “a-hole” during the interview, Rosenberg took issue with the way Carton lied and treated people during his radio career.

“Never was a fan of you, never would have told you that in my life.”

“Ehh, you’re a litte bit of a fan,” the former FAN host said with a smirk in the most Carton-like comment of the interview.

“Not even at all,” a straight-faced Rosenberg replied as he mentioned Carton’s NJ 101.5 radio bits such as encouraging listeners to report illegal immigrants. Carton admitted there were times he forgot the people he attacked on-air had families of their own, his only goal was to make good radio. 

Because of his own bombastic style and willingness to test limits, Carton takes no issue with anything that’s been said about him since his arrest.   There are certain people Carton went after that he now feels bad about, but the former FAN morning host was careful to admit, without being on the receiving end of those attacks, his feelings wouldn’t have altered, adding “if you don’t change, you’re not human.”

In talking about WFAN, Carton was very complimentary of how they handled his situation, also admitting Mike Francesa has been kinder to him than he would’ve been in a role reversal.  Carton acknowledged he’s happy FAN’s morning show has seen a drop in ratings since his departure, only stating that he and Boomer are “fine,” with no follow up question from TMKS.

Carton briefly spoke about his own family, including the difficult task of explaining his mistakes and now repercussions to his four children who range between the ages of eight and eighteen.  Carton said his wife loves him and hates him at the same time, adding they’re legally separated and he’s not sure if it will conclude in a divorce.  

On September 6th 2017, Carton was arrested on charges of conspiracy, wire and securities fraud after convincing hedge funders to invest millions of dollars for his ticket resale business.  The lines of his legitimate ticket resale business and his gambling addiction blurred when he used investment money to feed his sickness.

“I told people what I was using their money for and I didn’t always use it at the exact right time, or exact time,” Carton said during his Monday appearance on ESPN NY.  “The hedge fund wired two million dollars for tickets that I was gonna buy to Barbara Streisand and Metallica concerts, I bought every one of those tickets, albeit on my credit card and I used their money, when I got it, for gambling.”

Carton did state that being arrested saved his life because without that September 6th, 2017 day, he wouldn’t have recognized his problem.  “There certainly would have come a point when I would have borrowed money from the wrong person,” the former morning radio star added.

As far as whether or not his experiences have changed him to the point that it would affect a future radio career, “I think I’d be number one tomorrow,” Carton told TMKS late in the interview.  “Going to prison, acknowledging what I’ve done wrong, taking full ownership of it, I don’t blame a damn person but myself… and being real about that, I think will have great credibility, especially with a male-dominated audience in New York.”

In three and a half years Carton could get an opportunity to test his theory.   As much as people have criticized where Carton is in his life today, his radio talent has never been questioned, but the industry’s landscape will continue to change with more of an emphasis on gambling, something that Craig would not want to encourage himself. 

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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Andrew Fillipponi: Jac Collinsworth “Was Dreadful” at Play-by-Play

“Jac Collinsowrth was underqualified…for the position he was in in. He didn’t deserve to have the job, I’m glad he doesnt have that particular job anymore and I dont even feel remotely bad about sayiing it.”

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Andrew Fillipponi and Jac Collinsworth
Andrew Fillipponi Courtesy of 93.7 The Fan Jac Collinsworth Courtesy of NBC

Count The PM Team with Poni & Mueller hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller amongst those who will not miss Jac Collinsworth on Notre Dame broadcasts. The 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh hosts were responding to the news Andrew Marchand of The Athletic had reported earlier in the day that Collinsworth was being taken out of the play-by-play role for Notre Dame games on NBC.

“He just was terrible on those broadcasts,” Fillipponi said. “… if anyone thinks I’m being too hard on a guy who got his job in large measure because of who his dad is, feel free, if I ever lose my job to just dunk on me endlessly…Jac Collinsowrth was underqualified…for the position he was in in. He didn’t deserve to have the job, I’m glad he doesn’t have that particular job anymore and I don’t even feel remotely bad about saying it.”

Reminded that Collinsworth is a Notre Dame graduate, Fillipponi asked, “Do you know how bad you have to suck at the job to be a Notre Dame alum and they don’t even want to keep you on the broadcast?”

“Taking him off that assignment, I bet he’s livid,” Mueller said. “Because he wants to call his alma mater’s games. I wonder how Cris Collinsworth takes it? And it makes me think, ‘is Collinsowrth, the elder, the dad, how much longer is he going to be at NBC?’ If Cris Collinsworth is seeen as their top analyst and someone they want to have call their games until he’s ready to retire ten years from now, they are basically firing his son off of Notre Dame football games.”

“He was dreadful at the job,” Fillipponi added. “As a desk guy, in all those roles, pretty much dreadful.” Fillipponi also went on to say if the response is for Cris Collinsworth to leave NBC, he had a suggestion on who could take his place. “I’d put Greg Olsen with [Mike] Tirico on Sunday Night Football in a heartbeat…I think [Cris] Collinsworth is very good…the fact that virtually every fanbase hates Cris Collinsworth and thinks he hates thier favorite team, is proof positive that he is good at his job.”

In case anyone thought Fillipponi was just mad Jac Collinsowrth got the Notre Dame job because he is the son of Cris Collinsworth, he said, “You don’t hear me going on and on about nepotism with Noah Eagle, because I think Noah Eagle is excellent already at the job.”

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Christian Fauria: I See the NFL “Icing Out” Broadcasting Partners

“If I’m the league, does it make more financial sense by selling off a game here, a game here, to five different partners and really trying to fleece them…making it realy competitive, and having them overpay. Or, to farm it out ourselves, like to really own everything ourselves.”

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Photo of Christian Fauria
Courtesy: Audacy

Former NFL player Christian Fauria said on his WEEI show, Gresh & Fauria, that he believes the NFL will soon own and control their own television and streaming rights . Fauria and his partner, Andy Gresh were discussing the recent reports of Amazon Prime Video paying $120 million (or $150 million depending on which report you read) to stream one exclusive playoff game.

“It’s just one game and it’s $120 million dollars,” Gresh said. “I just go back to, this is where it’s going. At what point is the NFL tapped domestically?…I just wonder how do you extract more from the domestic marketplace? How do you find a way to squeeze more blood out of the rock? There are no more TV networks to go to. The streaming services are what they are, but at the end of the day, isn’t owning it yourself and going to pay-per-view the only real remaining revenue stream for the NFL here in America?”

Fauria said he sees the NFL potentially going all in. “If I’m the league, does it make more financial sense by selling off a game here, a game here, to five different partners and really trying to fleece them…making it realy competitive, and having them overpay. Or, to farm it out ourselves, like to really own everything ourselves. One platform that we own, that we regulate that we control and we can reach a world-wide audience and they all go to one particular [place]…one platform that everyone goes to and they pay a fee. Eventually, I see them icing out all their partners.”

Gresh took a different point of view, noting how desperate the networks will be to keep the NFL programming and all that would be involved if the NFL took over all of the broadcasting responsibilities. “I don’t think it’s going to get that deep because then the NFL would start to get in to paying production costs, flying people around, hiring crews. If the NFL just housed it on their own, they are then just incurring the expense that they have had the luxury of having someone else incur, on top of paying them a ton of money. To me, the only carve out can only be the Super Bowl and these sort of standalone deals.”

Fauria then added how he can not only see the NFL taking it all on themselves, mainly due to the owner’s greed, but added he can also see the addition of at least two more teams which would create more inventory for the league to sell. Gresh didn’t disagree about adding more teams, his belief, however is that adding the teams will continue to drive the price up for the broadcasting partners and the NFL may try different things with single games like the exclusively-streamed playoff game.

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KFC on WFAN: What Makes Barstool Sports Successful is the “Reality TV Aspect”

“Anybody that has success in entertainment and sports…I think there is going to be that desire to see behind the curtain and we just kind of opened the curtain willingly.”

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Kevin Clancy, aka KFC from Barstool Sports
Courtesy: Barstool Sports

Kevin Clancy, better known as ‘KFC’ from Barstool Sports, filled in for Boomer Esiason on WFAN this morning with Gregg Giannatti. The two hosts discussed the feuding going on between members of the 1990’s Chicago Bulls as some players, most notably Scottie Pippen, are disputing some of what was said in The Last Dance back in 2020.

They compared the situation to some of what they face at their offices, noting they spend a lot of time with their co-workers, who aren’t members of their family or in most cases their best friends and drama can sometimes ensue. “Barstool has taken that office drama to a level that no one else has achieved,” Giannotti said to KFC. “When we do stuff like that here [at WFAN], it’s very rarely serious. The drama that you guys have, it’s real and it’s out there and that’s got to be a really difficult thing to deal with if you’re not prepared for it.”

“We usually refer to it as “being in the mud,” Clancy responded. “And there’s only certain people that can really live in the mud…It’s part of what made Barstool successful, is that reality TV aspect of it in that it is kind of like a team, and there is internal drama like clubhouse drama, locker room drama and the way we usually handle that is let’s do it out there and on the air.”

KFC talked about being a fan of WFAN and seeing it from the outside looking in. He said as a listener you could sense who was not a fan of certain people. He used the example of the feuds which would take place between Mike Francesa and Craig Carton and then the subsequent feuds Giannotti found himself in with “The Pope” when he took over for Carton.

“Anybody that has success in entertainment and sports…I think there is going to be that desire to see behind the curtain and we just kind of opened the curtain willingly,” KFC said about Barstool Sports. “We will probably fight each other more than anything, but then when there’s an outside problem, we close ranks and we are like, let’s handle business.”

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