You would think WFAN knew this day was coming. Or at least spent enough time preparing for it.
Craig Carton will leave the station to go full-time with his FS1 morning show, according to The Post. And he will do so after turning WFAN’s afternoon drive program into a ratings juggernaut again with co-host Evan Roberts. So replacing him will be a pressure-packed spot for program director Spike Eskin and executive Chris Oliveiro. They need to find someone who meshes with Roberts and can maintain WFAN’s massive timeslot lead over Michael Kay and ESPN Radio New York. And they may need to do it on a budget, given parent company Audacy’s financial woes.
So what does WFAN do? Who replaces Carton? Here are eight candidates — and two guys we know it won’t be.
Not happening. Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo are not walking through that door.
Internal options. The Post reports midday host Tiki Barber is the top in-house candidate. They would need to blow up a successful and long-running partnership with Brandon Tierney to move the former Giants running back up. But Tierney would do just fine with a new partner. And Barber would be a splashy new name on the marquee and a good foil for Roberts. You have to think overnight host Sal Licata may also get some play, although him and Roberts may be too sports-heavy for the modern landscape. Also: What about a Joe Benigno caretaker stint? We could think of worst things as we turn toward the most-anticipated Jets season ever.
External inside-the-box candidates. Are there any? WFAN candidate list stalwart Adam Schein just re-upped with Sirius XM. It’s hard to imagine The Ringer’s John Jastremski would come back at this point. Maybe Don La Greca could have been poached had Kay left ESPN, but that ship has likely sailed.
External outside-the-box candidates. The Post reports actor Jerry Ferrara, a New York native who played Turtle on “Entourage,” may be in the mix. Ferrara has done appearances on WFAN before. We will throw another name out: Barstool Sports’ Kevin Clancy, who has also appeared on WFAN.
The bottom line … It’s the same conclusion as when Kay was rumored to be leaving ESPN. The pickings are slim. There is no sure-thing replacement or obvious fix, both inside WFAN or outside. Which is why we bet Barber gets the nod and Licata ends up being paired with Tierney.