Craig Carton has resigned from New York City sports radio station WFAN after 10 years as co-host of the high-rated morning drive show Boomer & Carton.
Carton, who is under federal investigation, submitted his resignation earlier this evening.
The FBI arrested Carton last Wednesday morning. He faces a variety of charges, including securities fraud and wire fraud, as does a co-defendant. WFAN said it is cooperating with the authorities in the probe. He is currently out on $500,000 bail. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a separate civil lawsuit against Carton and another individual in connection with the same enterprise.
CBS-owned WFAN, which suspended Carton after his arrest, airs on 660 AM and 101.9 FM, and streams on the internet as well. The station reportedly paid Carton an annual salary of about $2 million.
A father of four, Carton, 48, allegedly scammed investors as a way to pay off massive gambling debts, according to the New York Times.
“Federal prosecutors in Manhattan accused Mr. Carton and another defendant of running a kind of Ponzi scheme in which they solicited investments from victims, including a Manhattan hedge fund, that the two men said they would use to buy and sell concert tickets. The money was instead used to pay personal debts and earlier investors…Mr. Carton sought the investments last year around the time he also accrued millions of dollars’ worth of gambling debts to casinos and other parties.”
In a statement released via a publicist, Carton reasoned that his legal issues would pose too much of a distraction for WFAN in general and the morning show in particular, and that the station accepted his resignation, Sports Illustrated reported.
Moving forward, Carton said that he will focus on his family and on clearing his name. He added that at some future date, he will publicly address the allegations against him.
In an earlier statement, Carton insisted that he was not guilty of the charges and vowed to come back “stronger than ever,” Newsday reported. Several days ago, Carton’s lawyer described his client as a victim who was manipulated by others and that the allegations against the radio host constituted a “gross misunderstanding” of what actually happened, NJ.com detailed.
WFAN will now have to commence the search for a permanent replacement to broadcast alongside former New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback “Boomer” Esiason.
Parenthetically, perhaps the first U.S. radio station to go all sports 24-7, WFAN has another key day-part vacancy to address. Longtime afternoon drive host Mike Francesa (now broadcasting solo but previously part of the Mike and the Mad Dog tandem) says he’s retiring effective December 15. Earlier this week, however, Francesa told the New York Post that he would not turn his back on the station if WFAN was in trouble and might be willing to sit down with CBS execs to discuss the possibility of postponing his retirement plans.
About a week ago, New York Daily News media columnist Bob Raissman pointed out in relation to the possibility of Francesa staying put at WFAN with the morning show in limbo that “Anyway you cut it, the two key revenue generating day-parts, morning drive and afternoon drive, will be in a state of flux or transition…One drive-time show going through a transition is bad enough, two is a major problem. Advertising dollars would go flying out the window.”
[Featured Image by John Minchillo/AP Images for NFL]