Monday, May 27, 2013

Craig Carton's Book "Loudmouth" Lives up to its Name

Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason's Boomer and Carton morning show on WFAN is the number one ranked morning show in New York--and in his new book Loudmouth, Carton often reminds the reader of that fact. Carton comes across as a combination between an immature little boy desperately seeking praise/approval and an introspective man struggling to understand how the challenges he faced during his childhood shaped the person he ultimately became. Carton writes, "I was, and am, confident--but hardly cocky or full of myself...I laugh on the outside and put on a good show. Life is like day camp to me. That's my personal mantra, and I try to live up to it as much as I can. But on the inside, I'm still a somewhat insecure child who worries about ratings, about when my show will come to an end, and about not being good enough for my boss, my partner, my wife, and my family."

Carton's life story does not read like a tale from a "day camp"; he complains about how his parents did not show him overt affection and how they disregarded what he wanted to do--play sports--and what he did not want to do--go to Sunday School. Carton whines about typical childhood experiences that most adults have either long forgotten or never dwelled on in the first place. I don't begrudge Carton his pain or his right to explore the origins of his pain but I suspect that many readers will grow tired of hearing a successful radio host drone on about how his game-winning soccer goal as an eight year old was disallowed and about other similar youthful traumas that Carton still remembers in vivid detail. I have a similar kind of elephant's memory for real and imagined slights but reading Carton's book made me more aware of how such stories sound to other people's ears; life is best lived in the present, with an eye toward future goals, as opposed to trapping oneself in an endless cycle of revisiting the past.

Carton's radio career began in Buffalo shortly after he graduated from Syracuse. He quickly moved up the food chain during stints in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Denver before he scored the job at WFAN in the wake of the infamous Don Imus scandal. Carton's brash on-air style has been compared to Howard Stern's and Carton takes that as a great compliment even though Carton's critics intend it to be an insult; Carton has a low opinion of straight, just the facts radio shows: he believes that they are boring and that in order to attract a young audience it is necessary to say and do outlandish things.

Overall, Carton has had a good life; perhaps he will eventually learn to appreciate the positive aspects instead of focusing on the negative aspects.


Unknown said...

you listen to boomer and carton?


David Friedman said...


No, I just read the book.