“The Howard Stern of Sports Radio” offers a mishmash of intermittently interesting anecdotes and biographical sketches.
Once Don Imus uttered the fateful words “nappy headed hos,” he was gone from New York City’s WFAN, soon replaced by the Boomer [Esiason] & Carton Show. It became an instant hit, not for its sports talk but for Carton’s personality, which he describes as “a super self-confident, fun-loving guys’ guy.” His voice on the page is similar to his voice on the radio: irreverent, scatological, sexist. Raised by parents who didn’t seem to like him much—nor he them—Carton was forced to face such indignities as moving from playing soccer in high school to playing in the marching band. From all this, it seems, he developed a sense he was on his own and would succeed only by being his uncensored self. Here, he ponders such topics as whether or not Tim Tebow is a virgin, why men “used to tolerate a hairy bush” and why pro athletes should not sleep with underage girls (with specific reference to former NFL star Lawrence Taylor’s incident with a 15-year-old prostitute). Carton eventually settles down and traces the history of his rise to radio stardom, from his humble beginnings on Buffalo’s WGR, through successful gigs in Cleveland, Philadelphia and New Jersey, to today. Along the way, he regularly irritated bosses with his uncensored radio broadcasts; while in New Jersey, the governor at the time threatened, apparently quite seriously, to kill him. Still, while Carton does seem an intriguing personality, there is very little here that is revealing or captivating.
Guys’ guys may enjoy, but they could just as easily listen to Carton’s radio show.