craig carton

Former WFAN host Craig Carton was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and three years of probation on federal fraud charges Friday for his role in a ticket-buying Ponzi scheme. Prosecutors said Carton misappropriated at least $5.6 million for use on personal expenses, including gambling, and he’s cited a gambling addiction as part of what led him to do this. The prosecution had asked for a five-to-seven-year sentence, but judge Colleen McMahon decided to hand Carton a lighter amount of jail time. But it’s how she started her sentencing remarks that’s perhaps particularly notable:

Yep, that’s the “first-time caller, long-time listener” phrase that’s become so long-running (Bill Simmons referenced it re: Mike and the Mad Dog in a Page 2 column in 2007, a sentence that should make everyone feel extremely old, and it popped up years before that too, as seen in a 2004 Metafilter thread) and so common in radio that even Kristaps Porzingis dropped it on Mike Francesa at one point. McMahon then went on to talk about how she listened to Carton’s show:

Meanwhile, Carton will apparently have plenty of opportunities to relay his side of this before heading to prison. As per Phil Mushnick of The New York Post, Carton has produced a “The Reckoning” video to be released to the public. Carton will also be a guest on ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show this afternoon, which is interesting considering how long he spent working for their competition at WFAN. No word on if he’ll greet Kay with “First time, long time.”

[Amy Dash on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.