The morning show slot on New York radio station WFAN was home to shock jock Imus for many years. His was the only show on the station that didn’t focus on sports, with current events and politics his favorite subjects. A controversial comment he made about the Rutgers women’s basketball team eventually led to his firing. The station tried several combinations to fill the time slot, but it wasn’t until they put together a former NFL MVP, Boomer Esiason, and a popular talk show host in New Jersey, Craig Carton, that they found the winning combination.
The first hire of the two was Boomer Esiason in April of 2007. Boomer was a highly successful quarterback in the NFL before trying his hand at broadcasting. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, and the New York Jets, where he became a fan favorite not only for his play but also since he was a New Yorker himself, being from Long Island. He has expanded his broadcasting duties to include being a member of the NFL Today Show on CBS at noon on Sundays and to broadcast the Monday Night Football game on radio for Westwood One.
Craig Carton joined Boomer on September 4th to officially create the Boomer and Carton show. Carton has a long career as a popular broadcaster. Before coming to the WFAN morning show he was known as one of the “Jersey Guys” on NJ 101.5, the highest rated afternoon talk show in America for five years from 2001 to 2006. The show focused on topics mainly concerning New Jersey residents, but no topic was off limits for Carton. He seemed to have an opinion on everything.
The show is truly unique because of the different backgrounds of the two hosts. Boomer can often be found giving the perspective of the professional athlete, while Carton expresses the opinions of the true sports fan that he is. However, before you think this is just another show all about sports don’t be surprised if you hear a discussion about Charlie Sheen or Dancing With The Stars. Carton is known to just start talking about anything that crosses his mind, while Boomer does his best to get him back on track. Carton will often make bold predictions or take pessimistic stances early in a sport’s season with Boomer trying to reason with him for patience.
The show not only has numerous guests, even including New York Governor David Patterson, a huge sports fan, but plays a game they call “Do You Know More Sports Than A Hot Girl From…”, and even gets a contribution from Al, their producer, in the form of song. Al’s favorite target seems to be Mike Pelfrey of the New York Mets whose hand-licking on the mound has been the subject of many of his songs.
While the show isn’t completely about sports it still is it’s main focus. With each new baseball season comes discussions about the New York Yankees and Mets and their prospects for the year. Football season brings opinions on the Jets and Giants, The Knicks, Rangers, and St. Johns are also popular subjects for debate. Carton wears his sports heart on his sleeve seemingly living and dying with each win or loss while Boomer is often the voice of reason.
The pairing of a former pro athlete and an incredibly opinionated sports fan is apparently working. The show reached number 1 in the Arbitron ratings for males in the age group of 25 to 54 one year after it replaced the Imus in the Morning Show. The show has also recently begun simulcasting on the MSG Network every weekday morning. Of course had you asked Craig Carton when he started if he thought the show would have been a success he would have said “Yes, in fact you can lock it up.” Boomer on the other hand would have stressed patience since “Good things come to those who wait.” Both are right and those of us lucky enough to pick up the signal of WFAN are the true winners in New York sports and more.
Source: Wikipedia Craig Carton/Boomer Esiason