Craig Carton

Kevin Burkhardt famously went from used car salesman to the voice of the Super Bowl for Fox, but according to Craig Carton, the impressive progression was briefly stalled by SNY.

“I remember when Fox first tried to hire him and SNY said no,” Carton recently recalled during his WFAN afternoon radio show co-hosted by Evan Roberts. “Because they were very selfish back in the day. They didn’t let him go, they wouldn’t let him out of his contract. He was approached to get a job at the big network and SNY c-blocked him.”

Burkhardt was initially hired by Fox as an NFL announcer in 2013. SNY allowed Fox to use Burkhardt, but they held him to his contract for the 2014 Major League Baseball season, his final year as the Mets field reporter. In April 2014, it was widely reported that Burkhardt would be leaving SNY to work for Fox full-time at season’s end.

“He wasn’t making a lot of money,” Carton continued. “He had proven himself to be really good on camera and here was the break. You never stop upward movement like that, it’s really douchey to do that. To be fair, he had a year left on his contract, as I know the story, and SNY said, we’re not gonna let you take the network gig…He had to toil for another year doing hot dog and sausage updates from random ballparks in the National League because the Wilpons wouldn’t let him leave.”

Burkhardt may have had to wait a year before joining Fox, but the former WFAN anchor eventually made his way to the network and has since worked his way up to being named their lead NFL play-by-play announcer.

The footnote in Carton’s rant against SNY is that it occurred while his WFAN afternoon show was being simulcast by SNY. It’s not often that you hear someone humiliate a network while they’re on-air at that very network (although there is a history of that with WFAN simulcasts!), but Carton’s criticism of SNY has increased in recent weeks.

Last month, he chided SNY for not sending a camera crew to carry their remote broadcast at the Jersey Shore the way CBS Sports Network did for WFAN’s morning show hosted by Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti. Despite Carton’s angst, SNY appeared to make the right decision, as Carton and Roberts were kicked off the air two hours early because of severe thunderstorms.

Carton and Roberts recently celebrated, or what should more aptly be described as acknowledged, their one-year anniversary on SNY. The afternoon show airs on WFAN from 2 – 6:30 p.m., but their SNY simulcast is only from 4 – 6 p.m.

It hasn’t quite been the tumultuous relationship Mike Francesa had with Fox Sports years ago, but Carton clearly doesn’t seem thrilled with the SNY deal. And his willingness to note SNY prevented Burkhardt from seeking a bigger opportunity makes you wonder if the Mets TV network is doing the same with Carton and Roberts.

Being hamstrung by only two hours of TV syndication hasn’t hurt Carton and Roberts in the radio ratings, however, with the WFAN show nearly doubling its ESPN Radio competition through the first two months of the spring ratings book.

[SNY]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com