With Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo long gone from WFAN, and as other elder statesman such as Joe Benigno and Steve Somers have retired from their full-time gigs, Boomer Esiason is the undisputed face of New York’s top sports radio station.
But at 61 years old, and with a media career that already spans a quarter-century, it’s fair to wonder how much longer the former NFL MVP wants to wake up at 4am to talk on the radio for four hours every day. According to his former morning radio partner and WFAN’s current afternoon host Craig Carton, Esiason may be looking to retire as soon as next year.
Craig Carton predicts Boomer Esiason will retire from WFAN next year pic.twitter.com/AGD43qdOAK
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) November 9, 2022
“I wonder how much longer Boomer’s gonna do it?” Carton wondered to his current WFAN co-host Evan Roberts. “The longest he would ever do it would be to 65 and he’s 61 now. I don’t think he’ll do four more, but that will be the longest he would ever do it. I could see Boomer, a year from now, saying, ‘I’ve done everything I could possibly do professionally, I’m good, I wanna relax, enjoy my grandkids,’…and I think he’s done.”
Not only did Carton predict when Esiason would retire from WFAN’s morning show with co-host Gregg Giannotti, he also envisioned how it would happen, claiming there would not be a lengthy retirement tour as there was with Mike Francesa.
“I think he announces it and then he does a special show at the end, probably at an auditorium or a theater or an arena, and that’s a wrap,” Carton said. “The only real question is, does he call me and ask me to come back to do it with him?”
Esiason and Carton had a wildly successful 10-year run together that came to a screeching halt in 2017 when the latter was arrested on charges of wire and securities fraud. Carton returned to WFAN in 2020 and restored the station’s afternoon show that needed stabilizing following several retirements by Francesa. Considering Carton’s relationship with Esiason and morning show producer Al Dukes, it’s not crazy to think he would have some insight as to when the former NFL quarterback might retire from his second career.
“I know there’s some people that are starting to panic about it,” Carton added of Esiason’s looming retirement.
WFAN program director Spike Eskin escaped Philadelphia’s WIP just before it was time to replace the sports radio station’s morning icon Angelo Cataldi, but he may soon have to worry about filling Esiason’s potential void in New York.
Carton confirmed that he would have no interest in returning to morning radio to replace Esiason. “I think Gregg would get to pick a new partner and away they’d go. And it would probably be Jerry Recco, that’s who it should be. He deserves it. Al would retire. When Boomer retires, Al’s gonna retire.”
A former athlete would seem like the more obvious choice to replace Esiason on WFAN, but that would also require the station’s parent company Audacy to reach into their wallet at a time when it might be difficult to do so if you check their stock price. There also might not be a strong need to find a high-priced host to replace Esiason because Giannotti isn’t going anywhere. Considering Giannotti’s popularity and ability to carry a show, as well as ESPN New York’s lack of investment in local radio as legitimate competition to WFAN, promoting from within might be the more financially sound decision for Audacy.
Whether Esiason stays for one more year, four or 10, his legacy at WFAN is already cemented as one of their most successful on-air personalities, helping to steady the station through the departures of Chris Russo, Mike Francesa and especially during Carton’s abrupt exit.