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Don’t Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story

By Mike Silva ~ April 1st, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, Sports Media Commentary.

Craig Carton has been on fire in recent weeks. Since a trade magazine called “Talkers” rated the “Boomer and Carton” show number 34 on the most important talk radio show list Carton has spent his days attacking numerous sports and entertainment luminaries. Individuals such as Joe Gannascoli of the Sopranos, actor Richard Lewis, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, and even Mets outfielder Jason Bay have felt the wrath of the narcissistic one. Over the last 48 hours Carton has questioned the manhood of Bay who was put on the disabled list with a pulled rib cage. This shouldn’t be a surprise since Carton made his way to WFAN’s morning show by attacking various individuals. He embarrassed acting New Jersey governor Richard Cody when he was on 101.5, as well as made derogatory remark about Jun Choi, the 2005 Democratic candidate for Mayor of Edison Township. Not to mention the abuse of animals on the air.

I could go on at length the inappropriate behavior exhibited by Craig Carton throughout his career. Most of these stunts are cheap “look at me” gimmicks to further his personal agenda. The debate yesterday was between individuals, like me, who were angered by another slanderous rant by Carton, those who believe he is just using shtick to have fun, and another group that wonders why everyone doesn’t turn off the radio. I am all for having fun on the radio, but there needs to be some sense of civility even when you are doing a show that looks at the lighter side of sports. There also needs to be some loose journalism standards when it comes to facts. Neither of that exists whether it’s the ignorance in the morning or the arrogance in the afternoon on WFAN.

Why is this behavior tolerated by CBS? Why does WFAN Operations Manager, V/P Programming CBS Radio New York, and V/P Sports Programming CBS Radio Mark Chernoff support him? It begins and ends with ratings, which I believe are about as believable as the profits from the financial markets pre 2008. The primary goal of WFAN is not to provide the best product, but create the best product by any means possible. There is a difference between providing and creating. Just like there was a difference between real wealth in this country, and the worthless paper that imploded a couple of years ago.

Over the winter I was talking with a New York sports figure that was roasted by Mike Francesa and Chris Russo many years ago. When he challenged Francesa and Russo about their inaccuracies on the air they responded by saying “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.” This is exactly what WFAN has become over the last decade. It’s a station that doesn’t talk about pro wrestling, but is aligned very closely with the artistic license demonstrated by Vince McMahon. Is this the type of comment that makes you feel WFAN is really “New York’s Number One?”

You now have newspapers, blogs, forums, Twitter, and Facebook for fans to connect. It’s very difficult to get someone’s attention each day. It requires hard work, creativity, and knowledge. Modern radio has very few subject matter experts. When you have a station with very little forward thinking they need to resort to the old radio playbook. That above quote by Francesa is exactly the motto of the morning show. At least the Carton portion of the tandem. Why Esiason puts up with it I don’t know, but it can’t be helpful to his squeaky clean brand name to be associated with such low brow behavior.

So I ask those that believe we should just ignore radio if this is acceptable behavior. If blogs and newspapers resorted to this “WWE style” type of behavior would it be acceptable? Would you ignore it? I doubt it. Its one thing to criticize a player, but questioning their health is abhorrent. Remember how many people thought former Astros pitcher J.R. Richard was soft? I guess that heart attack proved them wrong. I ask those that think Carton is just using “funny shtick” how they would feel if someone slandered them in the name of “ratings.” Is it funny? How would you feel if someone used your pain to further their career? This happens every day on the morning show.

I am by no means a wet noodle. I enjoy humor with the best of them, but believe there is a fine line you should not cross. I also believe there is a difference between shtick and someone using another’s brand name to further their selfish interests.

Don’t let Craig Carton and WFAN fool you into believing their ratings. Don’t let Carton use athletes and celebrities to further his career. Remember, all he cares about is moving up the Talkers Magazine list. He doesn’t care about the listener. That is why you shouldn’t turn him off, but rather hold him accountable for this behavior. I will continue to do it. Are you with me? Or do you believe you shouldn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story?

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Don’t Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story

  1. Bryan


    If people are really as disturbed by Carton’s behavior as you say, how come no one has responded to your “call to arms” bravado?

    Cause you’re the only one who takes this seriously dude . . .

  2. Mike Silva


    People are “calling to arms” by turning off the radio – when the scam that is called radio ratings is exposed this “call to arms” will be realized.

    By the way – what is your role at WFAN?

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