The all-new THE CARTON SHOW kicks off at 7:00 AM ET, featuring Craig Carton taking on the day’s breaking stories alongside a rotating group of co-hosts. Carton, a new addition to the FOX Sports family, is one of New York’s best-known voices, hosting a variety of popular radio shows on WFAN across his lengthy broadcasting career.
There was no information on potential names for the rotating co-hosts. We know ex-Jets lineman Damien Woody won’t be one. And Boomer Esiason obviously won’t be one, given he will be on WFAN with Gregg Giannotti at the same time. The Fox talent roster can be found here; entertain yourselves by coming up with guesses. It will be interesting to see if Carton can make a carousel of foils work the way Stephen A. Smith does with ESPN First Take.
Carton’s show will replace “First Things First” and be off the air by 9:30 a.m. so that Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe can embrace debate on “Undisputed.” Then Colin Cowherd comes on at noon followed by a new itineration of “FTF” at 3 p.m. followed by a new itineration of “Speak For Yourself” titled “Speak” at 4:30 p.m. and “NASCAR Race Hub” at 6 p.m.
Carton’s venture is going to be interesting for many reasons. He doesn’t do traditional sports talk. He also doesn’t really do hot takes. These are the two things that power FS1. And that’s even before you address the fact he can often work blue and be crass and cruel. Will he resonate enough nationally?
The local angles are even more compelling.
Carton and Evan Roberts are steamrolling ESPN Radio New York in the ratings battle. Their content is somewhat polarizing, but results are results. If they win the upcoming fall book, it might be time for Michael Kay to hang it up. And the consistent message has been nothing will change for Carton, he will still be on WFAN every day from 2-6:30 p.m.
That said … four-and-a-half hours of sports talk in the New York crucible after two-and-a-half hours of national television work, plus all the side obligations and planning, five times a week is a lot. It’s completely reasonable to speculate about how sustainable that schedule will be for Carton. Especially when WFAN just brought back Joe Benigno in a part-time role out of left field. If Carton starts skipping days, pairing Benigno and Roberts together is pretty good business. Just saying.
And what happens if Carton’s show takes off? There will be a lot of money on the table to do less work. And it’s well-documented WFAN’s parent company, Audacy, is in a bad spot. Losing Carton to television full-time would be a disaster for WFAN. If there is someone in the bullpen who could step in and deliver comparable results, they are hiding well.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]