Saturday Mornings With the ‘Voice of Problem Gambling’

“Hello, my name is Craig Carton, with you for another 30 minutes for a frank, open conversation about gambling addiction.”

Seated alone in the WFAN radio studio in Lower Manhattan where he rose to fame, collapsed in ignominy and later rose again, Mr. Carton began his weekly show the same way he has in the three years since he got out of prison.

On the line this morning in January was Rob D., a 61-year-old recovering gambling addict who got his start flipping cards in school before he went broke betting on basketball as an adult. Within minutes, Rob was weeping.

Tears are not unusual in this quiet enclave within the nation’s most famous sports-talk network. Like most of the rest of the sports industry, WFAN has been subsumed by advertisements and promotional tie-ins related to gambling. But from 9:30 to 10 every Saturday morning, a new guest enters Mr. Carton’s somber confessional to share his or her tale of addiction.

Mr. Carton, 55, whose 2013 autobiography was titled “Loudmouth,” is best known for a high-wire broadcasting style that dances around sports and lingers on mischief, controversy and “locker-room talk.” But on this morning show the gaffes are gone: He listens.

He winced as Rob shared the details of the moment when he confessed to his pregnant wife that he had gambled away all their savings. Similar stories, week after week, have unfolded on the air, and the waiting list of prospective guests is growing.

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