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Craig Carton Admits To Suicidal Thoughts In HBO Doc

“Riding a ski lift by himself during a vacation with his wife in Whistler, British Columbia just one month before his Sept. 2017 arrest, Carton described the desire to jump.”

Brandon Contes

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Set to premiere in less than a month, Newsday and The New York Post revealed details of what will be depicted in HBO’s Craig Carton upcoming documentary, Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth.

In the doc, Carton discusses his personal demons, which included having suicidal thoughts. Riding a ski lift by himself during a vacation with his wife in Whistler, British Columbia just one month before his Sept. 2017 arrest, Carton described the desire to jump. 

“I now have a desire to jump off the lift chair and down to the mountain,” Carton said according to The New York Post. “I lifted the bar up and I’m now inching closer to the edge of the seat. I got very upset and started crying.

“I had this out-loud conversation with myself, ‘Don’t do it! Don’t do it! You are better than this. You are not jumping.’

“As I’m telling myself not to do it, I’m inching closer and closer to the edge of the seat because I’m going, there is no doubt in my mind that I’m jumping off this chair lift, it is just a matter of when.”

Desperate, Carton called his former producer from NJ 101.5 Charod Williams who helped calm his friend down. 

Weeks later, Carton was arrested and charged with four counts of fraud by the FBI. But even at the time of the described suicidal thoughts, Carton hadn’t yet realized his gambling addiction or that he did anything illegal by taking $950,000 from an investment into his ticket business and using it for gambling debts. 

In fact, just four months before Carton was sitting on that ski lift in British Columbia, he expressed his lack of understanding for addiction while interviewing former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf. Leaf had a drug addiction which led to his own incarceration after stealing prescription pills.

“Boomer and I don’t have a lot of connection to the world of addiction so we’re kind of talking out of our ass a little bit about it,” Carton told Leaf during an interview with WFAN in April 2017. “Although I worked on the radio with someone who had a number of addictions, so I’ve seen it firsthand,” he added, seemingly referring to Sid Rosenberg. 

The HBO documentary, set to debut Oct. 7, features journal entries from Carton during his time in prison which ended this past June, as well as interviews with the former WFAN radio host since his release. HBO began working on the documentary months before Carton was released from jail, with Boomer Esiason and WFAN producer Al Dukes acknowledging in January they were already interviewed by the network. 

According to Newsday and The Post, the HBO documentary closes with “Craig has negotiated a radio comeback. He vows to be as outrageous as ever on air.” 

Although no return to the airwaves has been announced, that could change by the time the documentary airs. Joining Jason Barrett’s BSM podcast last month, Entercom New York market manager Chris Oliviero who oversees WFAN, acknowledged he’s spoken with Carton and is interested in a potential reunion, but no job offer was made yet.  

Sports Radio News

16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

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Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets

The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.

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Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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