Craig Carton is confused.
“How did I become the bad guy in offering a young, inexperienced broadcaster advice?” the WFAN afternoon drive host said Friday when informed of ex-WFANer John Jastremski’s pointed comments about him on his “New York, New York” podcast for The Ringer.
The cliff notes: Carton riffed on Jastremski during Wednesday’s program, saying he never listened to Carton’s career advice. And that he felt Jastremski’s decision to leave WFAN for Bill Simmons’ Ringer empire was a bad career move, joking that Jastremski might as well been managing a McDonald’s. The impetus was Carton discussing how he once advised former WFAN midday host and current WPIX-11 sports anchor Marc Malusis that television was his strength.
Jastremski was then made aware of Carton’s comments and took umbrage. He blasted Carton, calling him a “crook” and that he only takes advice from “legends” such as Mike Francesa, Adam Schein and Simmons.
“Go take a f—ing hike,” Jastremski said.
Carton does not see the need to do so.
“Now, you don’t have to take my advice. He didn’t. But how does that make me the bad guy?” he said. “When you’re saying on a podcast, ‘Eff off?’ Walk me through that, because maybe I’m not connecting the dots to that. Or I didn’t realize that no one can make fun, I can’t make a McDonald’s joke and have a little fun with a fellow broadcaster. Is that where we’re at now? ‘You can’t have fun with anybody, Carton’s an a-hole, eff off.’ I’m a bully, I’m a radio bully.
“Yeah, I’m the bully that extended a hand to try to help you career-wise. I’m the bad guy. OK. I just wanted to make sure I understood that correctly.”
Carton instructed producer Tommy Lugauer to connect with Jastremski and invite him to come on the air with him and co-host Evan Roberts. Jastremski declined, telling Lugauer via text he was about to board a flight back home from vacation.
Carton reiterated he thought Jastremski’s decision to leave WFAN for The Ringer was unwise, and his comments were a reflection on podcasting, not Jastremski’s talent. Carton said he thought the same thing when Howard Stern and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo left terrestrial radio for satellite radio as well.
“He won a contest to get on the radio and the day he got here, all I did was keep my door open for him to help advance his career and be a good guy by doing it,” Carton said. “I have no issue with JJ. I have no problem with him.”
But there was also a slight warning issued.
“If you want to have a war,” Carton said, “you’re picking the wrong guy, man.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]