Boomer Esiason turned 61 in April and this month has marked his 15th anniversary on WFAN and 20th on CBS’ “The NFL Today.”
So does he ever think about retiring from his second career as a broadcaster, especially given the early-to-rise grind that is part of being a morning radio host?
Apparently not, given that just last week Audacy, WFAN’s parent company, announced the latest addition to his media portfolio, a podcast called “Game Time with Boomer Esiason.”
More on that later. First, when Esiason was asked about the “r” word in an interview with Newsday, he spoke of the “joy” he still finds on the job during busy and winning weeks in New York sports like this past one.
“Now, that could change quickly,” he said, “and that's when it becomes a little bit cumbersome. Sometimes you get tired, and that's when you start thinking about retirement.
“But I haven’t really given it much thought . . . As long as I feel like I can wake up in the morning and look forward to coming [to WFAN], I don't think of retirement in the immediate future, let's put it that way.”
Asked whether he would have been surprised in 2007 – when he and Craig Carton succeeded the fired Don Imus – that he still would be at it in 2022, Esiason said, “I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised. I am surprised.”
Esiason called WFAN “really, a great place to work,” and said it currently is in a good place in ratings terms as well as in the camaraderie among the shows up and down the schedule.
“We all take shots at each other, but they're all in good nature, they're all fun,” he said.
Some of those good-natured jabs involve the afternoon show, where Carton now works with Evan Roberts.
One such topic has been Carton’s new show on FS1, which is on from 7 to 9:30 a.m., directly opposite Esiason’s and Gregg Giannotti’s radio show and its CBS Sports Network simulcast.
Esiason said Carton gave him a heads up about the show months ago.
“I love Craig, and I love his family, and I know that he's got financial commitments that he has got to meet,” Esiason said. “I told him, ‘I have no issue with you doing whatever you're doing.’”
Esiason said that while Carton is doing “a straight TV show,” the WFAN program is a radio show that happens to be on TV.
“So it doesn't really impact us at all,” Esiason said. “FS1 does not have a very big footprint anyway, at the moment, in New York. Maybe they're trying to do that with Craig.
“But I'm happy for him. Honestly, since the day he got out of jail and started to rehabilitate his image and himself to get his life back in order, you know, you just don't throw 10 years [of partnership] out the window. You appreciate it. And I appreciate his ability to come back.”
Carton spent about a year in prison on a federal fraud conviction, then rejoined WFAN in November of 2020.
Audacy executive Chris Oliviero spoke to Esiason at the time about reuniting with Carton in the morning, but by then Esiason had been partnered with Giannotti since 2018.
“I thought about it hard and long, and I just didn't feel like it was right to do that to Gio, because Gio has really found his sweet spot,” Esiason said.
“I really enjoy working with Gio, I really do. I just felt like if the station were really going to be whole again, the best thing to do would be to split us up . . . . I think it was the right decision for everybody.”
In 2019, Esiason launched a syndicated sports interview program called “Game Time” that is seen around the country, including at 5:30 a.m. Saturdays on Channel 2 in New York.
The podcast grew out of a desire to share content that misses the editing cut for the half-hour TV show.
“We have about 18 to 20 minutes of on-air TV time, but we have about 45 minutes of actual content, because I spend a lot of time talking to our guests in between breaks, after the show is over,” he said.
“It just felt like we had so much content, why not break it up into podcast form? It makes complete sense to do that.”
When not working, Esiason gets to play “Boompa” to his two grandchildren. A third grandchild is due in November to his daughter Sydney and her husband, the Islanders’ Matt Martin.
The birth of his grandson, Kaspar, last December was another milestone in the life of his son, Gunnar, whose diagnosis with cystic fibrosis as a toddler led to a decades-long family quest to extend and improve the lives of the CF community.
“I often refer to Gunnar as my hero, and our hero, I should say, and his son Kaspar is his miracle and is our miracle,” Esiason said. “To see that after all these years basically just validates everything that I've been doing all these years to try to keep that at the forefront and to try to raise money to make that difference.”
Still, Esiason is not yet ready to do the grandfather thing full time.
“I don't feel 61,” he said. “I am completely on, 100% locked in to everything I'm doing. I just feel like I still have a lot more [working] years in me. But we'll see.”