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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”

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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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Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’

“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”

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This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams

This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host. 

“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.” 

As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week: 

“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.” 

Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though. 

“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”

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Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”

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Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”

Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.

Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.

“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”

After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.

RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.

“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.

Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.

There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.

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Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”

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Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.

Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.

“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”

La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”

Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.

While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.

“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”

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