Craig Carton is no longer incarcerated after being granted an early release, just 12 months into his three-and-a-half-year sentence. The polarizing radio host is unquestionably one of the most talented in the business and it has many people asking how soon will Carton be back behind the mic?
According to his former co-host Boomer Esiason and his replacement on WFAN’s morning show Gregg Giannotti, Carton deserves a second chance.
“I get off the radio [Tuesday] and I see a number pop up on my screen,” Esiason said Wednesday morning on WFAN. “I’m thinking, ‘Is this spam? What is this? I answer the phone, I say ‘hello?’ And I hear a very familiar voice saying, ‘Hey, it’s me. I’m out!’ It was Craigy, calling to let me know he was released from jail [Tuesday] morning. What I heard was a happy and relieved Craig Carton.”
Boomer noted his former radio partner did everything he possibly could in jail to mitigate his sentence and get out early, which was a hope Carton expressed prior to beginning his tenure in prison last year.
“There were times he was talking about getting out early, then other times the next email would say ‘now I don’t think it’s going to happen,’ so he would go back and forth. But I didn’t hear from him for about a week or so until the phone rang yesterday, and he was driving in a car heading home,” WFAN morning show producer Al Dukes said.
Carton had limited access to email during his time in prison, but was able to interact with a select group of friends and family, including Esiason, Dukes and Jerry Recco.
“I do believe he deserves a second chance, whether it be here at our station or another station,” Esiason said. “He’s too talented not to be on the air somewhere.”
Esiason also highlighted the close relationship Carton has with his former WNEW producer Chris Oliviero, who was recently hired as the Entercom New York market manager. But if he does return to WFAN, don’t expect Carton to reunite with Esiason.
“Gregg, you came in and you basically kept this thing going,” Esiason told his current radio partner. “And we’re going to stay together, as long as I know, as long as you’ll have me and we’ll continue to do what we do. And hopefully Craigy someday will be able to get back doing what he does and does so well.”
Still, Giannotti agrees Carton is too talented not to get a second chance in radio.
“Where that’s going to be and when that’s going to be, I don’t know,” Gio said. “Of course, when you talk about this show and moving on, and me being here, it’s probably and most likely not going to be here. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be on the radio station years down the road somewhere else. Who knows? I don’t know. But I am happy that he’s out and I’m happy he’s going to get another opportunity.”
“He’s out. And he’s back,” Esiason said. “So here we go, Spank.”
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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”
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.