Like the Knicks welcoming back Phil Jackson or Chris Mullin’s comeback with St. John’s, WFAN and its staff rolled out the red carpet for an icon of their own with Craig Carton’s return Thursday. Hopefully, Carton’s return is deemed a better success by New York sports fans.
It’s the second time in recent years WFAN brought back an iconic radio host from hiatus. Carton’s homecoming might be met with more controversy from the outside, but it seems to be more unanimously accepted with people inside the station.
Paired with Joe Beningo’s decision to retire from doing full-time shows at 67-years old, Carton’s return to WFAN comes without disrupting the rest of the weekday lineup. Evan Roberts stays in afternoon drive, while the morning and midday shows remain unchanged, allowing for everyone to enjoy Carton’s arrival. And on Thursday, the station was openly celebrating the fanfare and buzz as Carton got back behind the mic.
Esiason offered to “buy Craig a pony” because during his hour show on Thursday, Carton explained having a breakthrough during equine therapy, where he was sent to a farm and talked to horses. It helped him realize his gambling addiction was a way of coping with the sexual abuse he suffered at summer camp as a child.
“They have these horses, and horses are apparently very smart,” Carton said. “I’m trying to come to terms with why I’m using gambling as a crutch, and I’m going to tell that to a horse? But I bleep you not, I’m having a one-on-one with this horse, and they wanted me to talk to the horse like he’s the person who did this to me; I had this crazy breakthrough, tears streaming down my face as I’m yelling at this horse. It was an amazing moment in my life where I realized I needed help.”
Using horses for therapeutic purposes came full circle for Boomer and Carton. Carton used to tease Boomer for having a pony as a child, which Esiason’s father bought for him shortly after his mother passed away.